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Male Infertility Q&A

Male infertility is a reproductive problem which may affect a man’s ability to father a child. Some of the problems associated with male infertility include: poor quality or quantity of sperm production, hormone disorders, genetic disorders, trauma to the reproductive organs, obstructions within the reproductive organs and impotence or erectile dysfunction.

How common is male infertility?

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About 50% of all infertility cases are due to the male factor being abnormal or subnormal. Over the past 20 years, data has shown that approximately 30% of cases are due to just the man alone while another 20% of cases show that both the man and women are abnormal.

What are some factors that could affect male infertility?

There are many risk factors that affect a male’s fertility include smoking; excessive consumption of alcohol; recreations drugs such as anabolic steroids, cocaine, or heroine; sexually transmitted diseases; hot baths, saunas and spas; being underweight or overweight; and exposure to toxins such as heavy metals, industrial chemicals and radioactivity. These factors can affect the quality of semen, decrease sperm counts and have an overall negative effect on the reproductive system.

Does masturbation affect fertility?

No. Masturbation does not affect a man’s sperm count nor does it cause infertility.

Does a man’s age play into his fertility?

A man’s fertility does decline as he ages. While it is not as dramatic of a decline as in women, it has been estimated that the amount of semen ejaculated and sperm motility begins to slowly decrease from the age of 37.

How is male infertility diagnosed?

If male infertility is suspected in a couple, then the man will undergo a testing protocol that includes a physical examination and a semen analysis. A blood test may be ordered as well to check hormone levels.

What is a semen analysis?

Semen analysis is a test that examines Sperm Count (concentration); Volume; pH; Motility (percentage of moving sperm); Progression (motion and forward progression); Viscosity (consistency); Morphology (percent of normal forms); and the presence or absence of white, red blood cells, or immature sperm.

Why would I be asked to repeat a semen analysis?

Often times, sperm counts may fluctuate from one specimen to the next, so a doctor may want to evaluate a several different samples over several weeks or months.

How do I know I am getting accurate results on my semen analysis?

Shady Grove Fertility’s andrology center is the largest male infertility testing laboratory in the US, and has one of the most reliable semen analysis testing protocols in the country. In 2008 alone, our team of 12 specially trained and experienced andrologists performed 4,800 comprehensive semen analyses for Shady Grove Fertility patients and patients who have been sent to the Center by more than 750 referring physicians. Samples brought to Shady Grove Fertility’s andrology center are processed and evaluated within two hours of a fresh specimen being collected, and results are usually available to the patient and their physician 3-to-5 week days following their appointment.

What are treatment options for male infertility?

If a man is diagnosed with infertility there are many treatment options he and his partner may undergo to try and achieve pregnancy:

  • Intrauterine Insemination (or IUI) is when the sperm is washed to separate it from white blood cells and prostaglandins in the semen and then inseminated into the uterus around the time of ovulation.
  • In Vitro Fertilization (IVF) is when a woman’s eggs are retrieved and then fertilized in a lab with the man’s sperm. This fertilization may be accomplished with Intracytoplasmic sperm injection (or ICSI). This is when one sperm is injected directly into the egg using a tiny glass needle. The embryos are then incubated and transferred to the uterus.
  • If a man has a low sperm count or has problems ejaculating, techniques such as PESA or TESE may be utilized. Percutaneous epididymal sperm aspiration (or PESA) is when a doctor penetrates the scrotum with a needle and draws sperm into a syringe. Testicular sperm extraction (or TESE) is the use of gathering sperm by removing of a small amount of testicular tissue. Both PESA and TESE can be performed either under local anesthesia or with IV anesthesia and the procedures usually last only about 30 minutes.

If you have additional quesions about male infertility, please schedule an appointment with a Shady Grove Fertility physician by calling 888.761.1967


  1. Toni

    January 14, 2017 - 3:13 am

    My husband has low sperm count, 1.8ml as at the last semen analysis. Do you think a male reproductive health supplement e.g ProXeed plus could help improve his numbers? We are thinking of trying ivf to concieve.

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