Infertility affects 1 in 7 couples with 25% being unexplained infertility. However 1 in 3 causes of infertility are due to known male factors. The most common cause of male infertility is poor quality semen.


Initially male infertility investigations involve a semen analysis and possibly subsequent tests including genetic blood tests, hormone blood tests, sperm DNA fragmentation test and semen culture. This will give a clear picture of the sperm quality.


There are several causes of abnormal semen which include:

  • Lack of sperm – no sperm or a low sperm count (azoospermia or oligospermia)
  • Sperm that aren’t moving properly – this will make it harder for the sperm to swim to the egg
  • Abnormal sperm – sperm can sometimes be an abnormal shape making it harder for them to move and fertilise an egg


Testicles produce sperm, if they’re damaged it can seriously affect the quality of semen. This can happen due to:

  • An infection of the testicles, epididymis or prostate
  • Testicular cancer
  • Testicular surgery
  • Testicular trauma


Ejaculation problems can make it difficult to release semen during sex. Hypergonadism is having abnormally low levels of testosterone (male sex hormone involved in making sperm). It can be caused by a tumour, taking illegal drugs or Klinefelter Syndrome (a rare condition where a man is born with an extra female chromosome).


  • Lifestyle and diet – eat healthily and do more exercise to improve your diet; reduce your intake of alcohol and stop smoking.
  • Stress – manage work and lifestyle stresses
  • Heat – don’t let your testicles get too hot too frequently – this can effect sperm e.g. hot baths and saunas
  • Medication – some medications can be used to enhance sperm quality


  • Medicines – if you have low testosterone due certain conditions, injections can be given to boost your hormone levels
  • Surgery – surgery to remove a blockage in tubes that carry sperm can help improve fertility in some cases
  • Assisted reproduction – there are several methods of assisted reproduction such as IUI, ICSI, IVF


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