Causes of Male Infertility

Male factor infertility is a complex condition that we are just beginning to understand. Its diagnosis and treatment can best be understood by dividing the causes of male factor infertility into three groups. The first group consists of factors where we can diagnose and treat the underlying cause. The second group we can diagnose but cannot treat the underlying cause. In the third, we cannot diagnose and cannot treat the underlying cause.

The good news and the bad news about male factor infertility is that most conditions, although they fall into the third category where we cannot diagnose or treat their underlying cause, are able to be surgically addressed allowing most of these men to father their own children. At the root of most of male factor infertility are genetic conditions resulting in low production of sperm and often, no sperm in the ejaculate. Although we cannot treat the underlying genetic cause of many of these conditions, we are typically able to find sperm surgically in about 70% of these men. Other treatable causes of male infertility will be covered in depth in the following sections.

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