Causes of male infertility

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The main causes of male infertility are:

Suboptimal sperm parameters

There are many causes for this problem that can affect the count, pattern of motility, shape or competence of the sperm, such as varicocele (swelling of the veins that drain the testicles), infection, antibodies that attack the sperm (anti- sperm antibodies), undescended testicles, hormone imbalance, chromosome defects, some tumours and the use of certain medications. 

Lifestyle causes of these problems include smoking, alcohol consumption, the use of recreational drugs, and obesity. Overexposure to certain environmental elements such as heat, toxins, certain chemicals and radiation can also reduce sperm production and function.

In many cases of male factor infertility the use of intracytoplasmic sperm injection (ICSI) as well as surgical sperm retrieval (where necessary) can overcome these problems.  The use of donor sperm may also be considered in cases where no sperm could be retrieved.

ICSI male infertility

Blockage in the sperm’s exit route

A blockage may be present in the sperm’s exit route so that there is no sperm present in the ejaculate. This may be caused by scarring from prior infection, inadvertent injury during surgery, trauma or conditions such as cystic fibrosis. A vasectomy will also result in blockage of the sperm’s exit route.

We work with local Urologists when procedures such as micro TESA are required to enable timely retrieval of sperm which can then be prepared and stored at ARGC.

Retrograde ejaculation

This is where sperm is ejaculated backwards into the bladder and can be caused by diabetes and other neurological disorders.

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