Male infertility symptoms

Male infertility symptoms

The modern pace of life is extremely fast and stressful. We need to keep up with so many things and follow such a quick pace. So no wonder many factors impact our health, in particular our fertility. In recent years more and more people are diagnosed with infertility. 

A common generally accepted and misleading idea is that if the couple has fertility issues, the problem is in the female partner, but it isn’t really true. In 25% of couples who resort to reproductive clinics the problem is in women, 20-25% more – in the male partner, in other cases the problem is present in both partners. So this concept is completely misleading, and for this reason, signs of male infertility should be considered as well.  Even though this problem is quite serious, male infertility symptoms are rather bereft of public attention.

What is male infertility?

Generally, people who can’t have children for some reasons are diagnosed with infertility. In men, this condition is very often associated with the signs of low sperm count or sperm transportation blockages.  Male fertility depends on the quantity and quality of the sperm. If there are any sperm problems (like the number of alive spermatozoa is low, or their quality is poor), conception may be rather challenging, time-consuming, and in some severe cases even impossible.

The only person who can accurately identify the signs of male infertility or provide the diagnosis “infertility” is the doctor. Without any medical reports, running tests and examinations, it is impossible to claim anything.

What are the signs of male infertility?

The symptoms of male infertility are not that obvious and noticeable. You may feel the symptoms of other conditions that are believed to be infertility causes in males like STDs, varicocele etc. Since there are basically no physical signs of male infertility, the only one you may spot on your own without any consultations is the period during which you have been trying to conceive. If you have been trying to get pregnant for more than 12 months with regular sex in the right periods (fertility window), it may be a reason to be concerned and resort to a fertility centre. In this case, you will probably need some medical tests and examinations to detect any abnormalities and treat them successfully.

When should you get concerned about infertility?

You should get concerned about infertility, if you experience any reproductive system-related issues (such as infections, varicocele, etc.) or if you have been trying to conceive a child for 12 months without any success. The signs of infertility in men are not that noticeable, thus the best option is to consult a fertility expert to find out more about your health status.

What should you know about male infertility causes and treatment?

We have already noted that the modern pace of life presents us a number of adverse factors that impact our health. Men are more susceptible to some environmental factors and risk factors including:

  • Parental age. It is one of the crucial male infertility factors. There is a misconception that men can become parents at any age, even after 80 or 90, while women face a rapid decline in their reproductive function after 35. In fact, age is extremely important for men too, since the older is the man, the higher is the risk that he may have a range of sperm problems(count, motility). Actually, the quality starts deteriorating at the age of 35.
  • Stress. Stress may diminish libido both in men and women. It may be induced by work, financial issues, home, relationships and even anxiety over fertility. You may want to go for some relaxing activities like sport, yoga, massages, etc.
  • Obesity. Weight factor plays a huge role in fertility. Thirty per cent over ideal weight can cause excess production of estrogen – the female hormone. Excess estrogen inhibits sperm production. In this case, you will find it useful to lose weight and develop some healthy exercise and eating habits. It will normalize your estrogen levels and may result in improved sperm production.
  • Use of tobacco, alcohol, steroids. Smoking tobacco, using alcohol and other drugs may impair the sexual function. Steroids may reduce and even block sperm production. If you are trying to increase your fertility, you will need to avoid tobacco and limit your alcohol intake. 
  • Heat. Elevated temperatures in the testicles impede sperm production. Wearing tight pants or underwear may reduce circulation and trap heat. You may want to change the type of underwear you are wearing and reduce the heat to your testicles.
  • Impact of other adverse factors such as pesticides, chemicals or radiation, which impair the proper functioning of the human body.

Possible causes of male infertility

A number of factors cause male infertility and they are mostly related to the problems that impact the sperm production and sperm transportation. What is more, often those factors occur in men in combination. That is why it is so important for men to pay close attention to any changes in his body. 

  • Issues with sperm production or count. These problems may be caused by a number of various factors and to detect them you need to consult a doctor and take a sperm analysis. Some of the most common reasons for such a condition include diabetes, STDs, HIV, and varicocele.
  • Sexually transmitted diseases (STDs). Some genital infections (chlamydia and gonorrhoea) cause severe inflammatory processes that may lead to infertility with a decrease in semen quality or semen transport blockage.
  • Blockages caused by birth defects, inflammatory infections, or physical damage from trauma. 
  • Genetic disorders. Different abnormalities of chromosome number or mutations may be related to the decreased quality of sperm production and sperm deferrals or blockage of sperm transport.
  • Antisperm antibodies. It is a condition when the immune system mistakenly targets sperm cells and attacks them as if they were viruses or infections.
  • Hormonal imbalance. The imbalance of hormones  produced by thyroid and pituitary glands may impair sperm production, as well as misuse of steroids (like testosterone).
  • Testicular cancer. Reproductive cancer may impact sperm production and cause male infertility.

In 2/3 of cases of infertility, men have problems with sperm count where the correlation of healthy and impaired spermatozoa is not sufficient. In 1/5 of cases, men face issues with sperm transportation.


One of the most common conditions in men is varicocele. About 15 per cent of the adult male population and 40 per cent of infertile men have a varicocele. For the majority of men, varicoceles cause no symptoms. Occasionally they can cause aching pain, sometimes accentuated by sitting or standing for a long period of time. Most of the time the doctor detects this condition during a physical examination of the scrotum. Only very large varicoceles are visibly obvious.

The symptoms of varicocele are as follows:

  • Pain in testicles;
  • Feeling of heaviness in testicle;
  • Visible, twisted veins near testicle
  • Poor semen count

The reasons why varicoceles reduce fertility are still unclear. One of the theories is that abnormal blood flow in veins raises the temperature of the testicles. Males regulate the temperature in a very special way – the temperature of testicles is one-two degrees lower than the temperature of the rest of the body. When it is cold, the scrotum shrinks and pulls testicles up to keep them warm. If it is too hot, the scrotum loosens so that testicles can move away from the body to stay cool. This is the natural mechanism for temperature regulation. In the case of varicocele, the testicles are provided with extra head by blood.

This condition may be easily corrected with a surgery and with the modern advance of medicine such procedures are performed in outpatient facilities with minimal risks of complications. At the consultation, after running some tests and examinations, the doctor will offer you the best treatment for your individual case.

Many studies suggest that varicocele seems to be the most correctable factor for treating poor semen quality. There is also some scientific evidence that show that the rate of natural pregnancies after varicocele repair is 33 per cent while for untreated couples it is 16 per cent.

What can you do to improve your fertility?

If you are concerned about your fertility you would want to start following a healthier lifestyle with better nutrition and exercise habits. If you and your partner are planning on getting pregnant, it may be a good idea to get a consultation with a doctor for both of you to detect any deviations or problems.

If you experience any signs of male infertility or reproductive issues, the best option for you is to resort to a fertility clinic to obtain professional advice on your problem. Only an expert may identify male infertility symptoms.

Parens Fertilityhas more than 15 years of clinical experience in reproductive medicine and infertility treatment. We offer you the fullest possible range of fertility services – from basic medical examinations and lab tests to IVF procedures and surrogacy. Every year the network of our clinics helps thousands of couples to feel the joy of parenthood, providing the best-quality care. 

If you have any questions about your fertility or need any type of treatment, please do not hesitate to contact our manager to schedule a consultation with our fertility expert. Our highly qualified and experienced professionals will ensure that you get exactly the help and support you need and seek!