Infertility is a term doctors use if a man hasn't been able to get a woman pregnant after at least one year of trying. Causes of male infertility include:

  • Physical problems with the testicles
  • Blockages in the ducts that carry sperm
  • Hormone problems
  • A history of high fevers or mumps
  • Genetic disorders
  • Lifestyle or environmental factors

About one-third of the time, infertility relates to a condition with the man. One-third of the time, it’s related to a condition with the woman. Sometimes no cause can be determined.


Medical testing can determine the cause of some male infertility. Testing might include:

  • A physical evaluation looking for indications of hormone deficiency or another urologic condition
  • A medical history that might include childhood diseases, injury to the genitourinary area or recent high fever or infection
  • Genetic screening
  • A blood test to determine hormone levels
  • Semen analysis


When a cause is found, treatments may include medicines, surgery or assisted reproductive technologies.

  • Medication can help treat male fertility related to hormone imbalances and erectile dysfunction.
  • Surgery may help correct or repair anatomic abnormalities or damage to reproductive organs.
  • Medical procedures can be used to deliver sperm to the woman, fertilize the egg in a laboratory or enlist a third party for sperm donation.
  • Surgery can also repair a varicocele or blockages in the tubes that transport sperm.

Today, two-thirds of couples treated for infertility are able to conceive.

Male Infertility Treatment

Potential causes of male infertility include prior surgery, disruption of the ejaculatory system, chemotherapy or genetic and unknown reasons that require more in-depth testing. Ohio State urologist Dr. Lawrence Jenkins explains his approach to evaluation and patient care.

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