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Male Infertility

Many people struggle with conception – about 1 in 7 couples have difficulties when trying to get pregnant. Although fertility issues are often related to women, they can also affect men.

What is male infertility?

Male infertility is a common issue amongst men, which makes it difficult to conceive.

What are the symptoms of male infertility?

Male infertility itself is physically symptomless and you might only suspect you have it if you are having problems conceiving.

However, if male infertility is caused by another health condition, you might experience:

  • Testicular pain or swelling
  • Veins in the testicles that appear prominent
  • Painful ejaculations
  • Problems ejaculating
  • Blood in the semen
  • Erectile dysfunction
  • Changes in your mood
  • Weight gain
  • A low sex drive
  • Less facial or body hair that you usual have
  • Gynecomastia (your breasts grow abnormally)
  • Repeated respiratory infections
  • A decreased sense of smell

What causes male infertility?

There are different causes of male infertility; the most common is a problem with your sperm. This could be because there is no sperm or not enough sperm in your semen, your sperm are slow, or you sperm are not the correct shape.

It’s also possible that your infertility could be caused by:

  • Low testosterone levels
  • Erectile dysfunction
  • Problems with ejaculation
  • Smoking, drinking too much alcohol or substance abuse
  • Certain medications
  • Stress
  • Older age
  • Obesity
  • Being exposed to certain chemicals
  • Testicular inflammation – this can be caused by mumps
  • Abnormalities with your scrotum – swollen veins, scrotum is too warm
  • Abnormalities with the development of your testicles

How is male infertility diagnosed?

If you and your partner are having difficulties conceiving (after having regular, unprotected intercourse for over a year) or if you have been experiencing any of the symptoms listed above, you should speak to your consultant.

Your consultant will ask about your medical history and about your experiences trying to conceive. They will likely ask that you undergo a semen analysis to determine the health of your sperm.

If further information is necessary, your consultant might also recommend that you undergo:

  • Blood tests
  • Urine tests
  • Ultrasounds
  • Genetic tests

How is male infertility treated?

The treatment for male infertility depends on what is causing it. You and your consultant can discuss which treatment method they think would work best for you. Treatments for male infertility include:

  • Antibiotics to cure an infection of the urinary tract
  • Medications that can help with ejaculation
  • Hormone replacement or hormone medication
  • Surgery to repair any blockages that might be present
  • Assisted reproduction (e.g. IUI or IVF)
  • Medical devices (e.g. a vacuum pump)

If you’re unsure what treatment you should go for, or the above treatments don’t work for you, our team of expert specialists are here to help

This content has been checked and approved by

Professor David Ralph  ›

David Ralph is a Consultant Urologist at King Edward VII’s Hospital.

Find your specialist in male infertility at King Edward VII's Hospital

If you suspect you have male infertility and you’re seeking an expert opinion, you can find the UK’s leading fertility specialists here at King Edward VII’s Hospital. Our consultants are hand-picked for you, making it easy to access the best possible care.

Miss Philippa Sangster  ›
Special interests include:
Hypogonadism (+ 3) more
Professor David Ralph  ›
Special interests include:
Male infertility (+ 6) more

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