male factor infertility

Male Factor Infertility

Infertility is not exclusively a problem for women. Studies suggest that men’s fertility issues contribute to around 30% of cases of infertility.

Male factor infertility can have many causes. At Aspire, we work closely with a man’s urologist to help diagnose and treat any medical issues that may be affecting his fertility. We can refer a man to a urologist with whom we have a trusted working relationship.

Male Factor Infertility

Causes of Male Factor Infertility

There are many potential causes of male factor infertility, but there are four main kinds.
  • Structural Abnormalities are obstructions that partially or totally block the flow of sperm or semen. In some cases, these abnormalities are present at birth. In others, they occur after infection of the urogenital tract, or after surgery.
  • Sperm Production Disorders result in sperm production becoming inhibited. Possible causes include:
    • Vasectomy, which is a surgical procedure for male sterilization. During the procedure, the ducts that transport sperm are severed and then sealed to keep sperm from entering into the semen. This, in turn, prevents fertilization.
    • Varicocele, an enlargement of the veins within the scrotum. Varicoceles develop over time and are similar to varicose veins in the leg. Although many varicoceles have no effect on sperm production or quality, they are a common cause of sperm production disorders. Fortunately, most varicoeles are easy to diagnose, and if a varicocele does cause infertility symptoms, it can often be repaired with a simple outpatient procedure.
  • Ejaculatory Disturbances prevent sperm from reaching the egg. There are several types:
    • Retrograde Ejaculation occurs when semen enters the bladder instead of emerging through the penis during orgasm. Although men can still reach sexual climax, they may ejaculate little or no semen (sometimes called a ‘dry orgasm’). While this is not harmful, it can cause infertility.
    • Erectile Dysfunction occurs when a man has consistent and repeated problems sustaining an erection. Without treatment, erectile dysfunction can make sexual intercourse difficult.
  • Immunologic Disorders. Endocrine disorders or antisperm antibodies prevent sperm from meeting and successfully penetrating the egg in the female reproductive tract.

Support for Men Facing Male Factor Infertility

A man’s feelings about his contribution to infertility are often overlooked. But many men experience profound feelings of guilt, anger, and low self-esteem, which can affect all aspects of their lives. Men may feel their masculinity is compromised by the inability to conceive a child, and low sperm count or quality can make them feel that they are ‘less of a man.’

That is simply not the case. Male factor infertility is a medical issue. Often, infertility can be addressed or resolved by treatment.

At Aspire we understand the frustration and stress that male factor infertility can cause. We offer counseling and support services that help couples communicate effectively about what is happening. Regardless of the cause of infertility, we can help couples overcome it together and start a family.

Support for Men Facing Male Factor Infertility

What Happens After Diagnosis

Once an underlying cause of fertility issues has been diagnosed—whether the cause is female factor, male factor, or combined—the next step is to plan a course of treatment.

Depending on the patient, fertility treatments such as IUI, IVF, or Donor Assisted Reproduction may be recommended. In other cases, we may be able to treat the underlying cause of the fertility issues.

What Happens After Diagnosis