Penn Fertility Care

Patient Resources

Reproductive Health Information

Male Infertility

It is estimated that, in the United States, 40 percent of couples are unable to conceive due to male factor infertility. Determining the cause(s) of male infertility mainly depends upon the results of a semen analysis.

Some of the more common causes of male infertility are:

  • Low sperm count (the number of sperm in an ejaculate)
  • Low sperm motility (the sperm have a difficult time swimming to the egg)
  • Low sperm progression (the speed at which sperm move)
  • Low number of normally formed or "normal looking" sperm

Often, these problems are not isolated. Several infertility symptoms can occur at the same time. For example, a patient may have a low sperm count with low motility and a low number of normal sperm.

Other areas that may affect male fertility include:

  • illness
  • infections
  • childhood history of undescended testes
  • testicular trauma
  • hernia repair

In addition, use of lubricants, timing and frequency of intercourse, use of medications or recreational drugs, exposure to chemicals or radiation, smoking and use of steroids can affect fertility in a man.

Approximately 20 percent of couples with male infertility are diagnosed with azoospermia; this means there are no sperm in the ejaculate. This condition is generally be grouped into two categories:

Obstructive azoospermia: A blockage of the ejaculatory ducts preventing the sperm from being ejaculated. Causes include; vasectomy, failed vasectomy reversal, absence of the vas deferens and inflammatory scarring of the epididymis.

Non-obstructive azoospermia: Severely impaired or non-existent sperm production. Causes include: Klinefelter's Syndrome, hypogonadism hypogonadotropic (a lack of sperm producing hormones), paraplegia, multiple sclerosis and diabetes. In some cases sperm may be found and extracted directly from the testicles.

Penn Fertility Care offers a comprehensive evaluation to test, diagnose and treat infertility problems. There are a number of new techniques available to treat male infertility. To learn more about the services and programs Penn Fertility Care offers to both male and female patients, visit the Clinical Services section of the Web site.

Diagnosis and Treatments

Services for male infertility include: