Male Infertility Causes

There are a number of causes for male infertility, including age, lifestyle choices (such as cigarette smoking or heavy alcohol use), and medical conditions (such as diabetes or a sexually transmitted disease). Even medications, such as certain psoriasis drugs or beta blockers, can cause infertility in a man.

An Overview of Male Infertility Causes

It is not uncommon for couples to have trouble becoming pregnant or experience infertility. Infertility is defined as not being able to become pregnant despite trying for 1 year in women under age 35, or despite trying for 6 months in women 35 and over.
Pregnancy is the result of a chain of events. A woman must release an egg from one of her ovaries (ovulation). The egg must travel through a fallopian tube toward her uterus. The man's sperm must join with (fertilize) the egg along the way. The fertilized egg must then become attached to the inside of the uterus. While this may seem simple, there are actually many things that can prevent pregnancy.
Male infertility causes may include:
  • Age
  • Lifestyle
  • Environmental exposure
  • Health problems
  • Medications.
Although your body decreases some sperm production after age 25, unlike women, you might remain fertile into your 60s and 70s. As you age, however, you might begin to have problems with your sperm that make it more difficult for them to fertilize an egg. These can include problems with the shape and movement of your sperm, sperm gene defects, or producing no sperm or too few sperm.
Behaviors such as smoking cigarettes or marijuana, heavy alcohol use, and taking illegal drugs can temporarily reduce sperm quality.
Environmental Exposure
Researchers are looking at whether exposure to environmental toxins, such as pesticides and lead, also may be to blame for some cases of infertility.
Last reviewed by: Arthur Schoenstadt, MD
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