Male Infertility Facts
2. What is male infertility?
"Male infertility is a condition in which the male reproductive tract and sperm has diminished capacity to lead to the eventual fertilization of the egg to produce an embryo," explains Melissa Esposito, M.D., a board-certified reproductive endocrinologist at Shady Grove Fertility Center in the Washington, D.C., area. Sometimes male infertility can be the sole problem for a couple trying to get pregnant, but infertility can also be caused by a combination of female and male factors.
3. What causes male infertility?
The following are common causes of male factor infertility:
Structural abnormalities that partially or totally block the flow of sperm and/or seminal fluid. Men may be born with abnormalities or the abnormalities may result from infection or surgery.
Sperm production disorders, when the production of sperm is inhibited. This may happen in men who have had a vasectomy or who have a varicocele that may cause low sperm count and decreased sperm quality.
Ejaculatory disturbances, such as impotence or retrograde ejaculation that prevent sperm from reaching the woman.
Immunologic disorders, like endocrine disorders or antisperm antibodies that prevent sperm from meeting and successfully penetrating the egg in the woman's genital tract.
Non-obstructive azoospermia, which means the testicle is not producing any sperm or is producing sperm in such low quantities that it cannot be detected in a standard semen analysis.
Obstructive azoospermia, in which sperm is produced, but cannot be discharged doesn't come out because of an obstruction.