Nearly 1 in 7 couples is infertile, which means they haven't been able to conceive a child even though they've had frequent, unprotected sexual intercourse for a year or longer. In up to half of these couples, male infertility plays at least a partial role.
Male infertility can be caused by low sperm production, abnormal sperm function or blockages that prevent the delivery of sperm. Illnesses, injuries, chronic health problems, lifestyle choices and other factors may contribute to male infertility.
The inability to conceive a child can be stressful and frustrating, but a number of treatments are available for male infertility.
The main sign of male infertility is the inability to conceive a child. There may be no other obvious signs or symptoms.
In some cases, however, an underlying problem such as an inherited disorder, hormonal imbalance, dilated veins around the testicle or a condition that blocks the passage of sperm causes signs and symptoms. Signs and symptoms you may notice include:
See a doctor if you have been unable to conceive a child after a year of regular, unprotected intercourse or sooner if you have any of the following:
Male fertility is a complex process. To get your partner pregnant, the following must occur:
A number of risk factors are linked to low sperm count and other problems that can cause low sperm count. They include:
To protect your fertility, avoid known factors that can affect sperm count and quality. For example: