Conditions InDepth: Infertility in Men

Infertility is not being able to conceive after a year of regular, unprotected sex. It may be due to male or female factors or both. Sometimes, the cause is in both partners or may not be known.

Male infertility is caused by problems making enough healthy sperm that are able to travel to an egg. Some causes may be:

  • Enlarged veins in the scrotum— varicocele
  • A blockage in the genital tract
  • Abnormal hormone levels
  • Infections, such as sexually transmitted infections (STIs), prostatitis, and tuberculosis
  • Undescended testicle(s)
  • Genetic problems such as Klinefelter syndrome
  • Sperm DNA damage
  • Problems with the immune system
  • Exposure to workplace chemicals or heavy metals, such as lead and cadmium


Infertility in men. EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at: Accessed November 11, 2021.
Male infertility/andrology. American Society for Reproductive Medicine website. Available at: Accessed November 11, 2021.
Overview of infertility. Merck Manual Professional Version website. Available at: Accessed November 11, 2021.
Last reviewed November 2021 by EBSCO Medical Review Board Mary-Beth Seymour, RN
Last Updated: 11/12/2021

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