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Publication Date:
24 March, 2021

The 4 male infertility conditions you should be aware of

About 40% of infertility cases are owing to male factors. If you suspect you are suffering from infertility, seek help right away. We’re sharing the four most common conditions affecting male fertility.

Male infertility is related to the concentration, mobility and morphology of the sperm, which all impact their ability to fertilize an egg.

We know that 40% of infertility cases come from male causes, so it’s important to observe your body’s signs and symptoms for any abnormalities.

Below, we provide the four most common conditions that affect male fertility. Learn their characteristics and the treatments you can undergo to become a father.

Male infertility: the four most common conditions


1. Varicocele

Varicocele is the presence of varicose or dilated veins in the scrotum, affecting about 15% of men. Although it doesn’t always result in infertility, nearly 40% of infertile men have varicocele.

While it can be asymptomatic, it usually manifests through enlarged veins in the scrotum; swelling; the presence of painless testicular tumors; heaviness or pain in the testicles; and a noticeable difference in size between both testicles.

By increasing the temperature of the testicles, varicocele can affect fertility in several ways.The primary issue is low sperm concentration in the ejaculate.

What to do?

If you’re experiencing pain, infertility or testicular atrophy, varicocele repair is recommended.

In addition, maintain a healthy lifestyle, including avoiding smoking, excessive alcohol consumption or foods high in saturated fats.

2. Low sperm concentration and sperm alterations

Low sperm concentration and sperm abnormalities are two major conditions affecting male fertility.

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), a healthy man should have more than 20 million spermatozoa per milliliter of semen. 50% should move quickly and accurately and more than 15% should have a normal shape.

A sperm count less than 15 million sperm per milliliter of semen is considered low.

On the other hand, some men have the right concentration, but present abnormal sperm morphology (teratozoospermia).

The abnormalities may include sperm with a deformed head or a twisted or double tail, making them unable to successfully fertilize an egg.

What to do?

A semen analysis is the starting point for identifying and treating male infertility. Most men with low sperm concentration or abnormal morphology can become fathers, but it will take time and specialized treatment.

3. Erectile Dysfunction

This condition affects about 152 million men worldwide and negatively impacts fertility. 

Causes of erectile dysfunction include diabetes, hypertension, hormonal imbalances, smoking, or emotional problems such as stress and anxiety.

It’s essential to uncover the particular cause of erectile dysfunction in order to apply the appropriate treatment.

What to do?

In addition to a physical examination for evidence of other diseases, your doctor may perform a blood test to determine your levels of testosterone, luteinizing hormone, prolactin, thyroid hormones, glucose or cholesterol.

You’ll also need to complete a questionnaire known as the International Index of Erectile Function (IIEF) to establish your level of erectile dysfunction.

Consider seeking therapy if you have anxiety, depression or stress. The more information you can provide to the fertility specialist, the better your chances of receiving effective treatment.

4. Decreased sperm motility

Another frequent seminal alteration, asthenozoospermia is a decrease in the mobility of male spermatozoa that compromises fertility by preventing the sperm from successfully travelling to the egg.

According to the WHO, it is diagnosed when the number of motile spermatozoa with displacement is less than 50%. The causes are not known exactly, but may include: seminal infections, varicocele, smoking, poor diet, among others.

Treatment of asthenozoospermia should be accompanied by a healthy lifestyle. In some cases, changing your habits can help restore fertility. Most men with low sperm motility can become fathers with specialized medical care.

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Dr. Michelle Contreras

Dr. Contreras is a board-certified Obstetrician and Gynecologist. She received her medical degree from the University of California, San Diego School of Medicine. Her specialty training was completed at St. Joseph Hospital in Chicago. Her years of experience and exemplary bedside manner are the reasons she is leading the team of professionals at our San […]

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Daley Portillo

She received her PA degree from Des Moines University. Following graduation Daley completed a one year intensive Obstetrics and Gynecology fellowship at Arrowhead Regional Medical Center in Colton, CA. During that year she learned all aspects of caring for a women throughout their healthcare journey’s. She’s been working in women’s health for 10 years and […]

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