Causes and Risk Factors of Male infertility

Male infertility is a complex condition with multiple causes and risk factors. It affects approximately 7% of men and can result from a variety of issues related to sperm production, function, or structure. With Gaudium IVF, the best IVF center in Bangalore, we will understand these causes and risk factors for proper diagnosis and treatment.

Causes of Male Infertility

1. Sperm Production Issues

  • Genetic Disorders: Conditions such as Klinefelter syndrome, myotonic dystrophy, and cystic fibrosis can impact sperm production.
  • Hormonal Imbalances: Disorders of the hypothalamus, pituitary, thyroid, or adrenal glands can affect hormone levels, leading to impaired sperm production. Low levels of testosterone, for instance, can significantly reduce sperm count.
  • Undescended Testicles: If one or both testicles fail to descend from the abdomen into the scrotum during fetal development, it can lead to infertility.

2. Ejaculation Problems

  • Blockages: Obstructions in the tubes that transport sperm from the testicles to the penis (such as the vas deferens or epididymis) can prevent sperm from being ejaculated.
  • Ejaculatory Disorders: Conditions like retrograde ejaculation, where semen enters the bladder instead of exiting through the penis, can prevent sperm from reaching the female reproductive tract.
  • Structural Abnormalities: Congenital or acquired structural issues, such as testicular torsion or injury, can impact sperm delivery.

3. Sperm Issues

  • Morphological Defects: Abnormalities in the shape of sperm can hinder their ability to fertilize an egg.
  • Motility Issues: Reduced sperm motility, or the sperm’s ability to swim, can prevent them from reaching and penetrating the egg.

4. Health and Lifestyle Factors

  • Infections: Infections such as mumps orchitis, sexually transmitted infections, or urinary tract infections can affect sperm production and quality.
  • Varicocele: This condition involves the swelling of veins within the scrotum, which can lead to decreased sperm quality and quantity.

Risk Factors for Male Infertility

1. Age:

Although men can remain fertile longer than women, sperm quality and quantity tend to decline with age, particularly after the age of 40.

2. Lifestyle Factors:

  • Substance Abuse: Excessive alcohol consumption, smoking, and the use of recreational drugs can impair sperm production and quality.
  • Obesity: Being overweight or obese can lead to hormonal imbalances that affect sperm production.
  • Diet: Poor nutrition and a lack of essential vitamins and minerals can negatively impact sperm health.

3. Environmental or Occupational Exposures:

  • Toxins: Exposure to industrial chemicals, heavy metals, radiation, and pesticides can adversely affect sperm production.
  • Heat: Frequent exposure to high temperatures, such as from hot tubs, saunas, or tight clothing, can impair sperm production by raising the temperature of the testicles.

4. Medical Treatments:

  • Medications: Some medications, including anabolic steroids, certain antibiotics, and chemotherapy drugs, can affect sperm production.
  • Surgery: Surgeries involving the pelvis, testicles, or prostate can impact fertility.

5. Health Conditions:

  • Chronic Illnesses: Conditions like diabetes, hypertension, and thyroid disorders can affect fertility.
  • Autoimmune Disorders: Some autoimmune diseases can cause the body to attack its own sperm, leading to infertility.

6. Psychological Factors:

Stress and emotional factors can impact hormonal balance, potentially affecting sperm production.


Male infertility is a multifaceted issue influenced by genetic, lifestyle, and environmental factors. A comprehensive understanding of these causes and risk factors is essential for effective diagnosis and treatment. Lifestyle modifications, medical interventions, and assisted reproductive technologies (ART) can help address many of these challenges, offering hope to affected individuals and couples.