Male infertility can be caused by problems that affect the amount and quality of sperm and how semen moves through and out of the body.
Men’s reproductive problems are caused by:
- Sperm disorders. This is the most common cause of male infertility. There may not be enough sperm, or sperm is misshapen or unable to swim. Sperm disorders can be caused by infections like mumps, hormone problems, immune disorders, genetic diseases, or environmental toxins like radiation or chemicals. Smoking and drinking alcohol can reduce sperm count.
- Pelvic structure problems. Semen flow can be blocked due to a birth defect, enlarged veins in the testes (varicocele), infection or swelling from a sexually transmitted disease, or scar tissue from surgery (such as hernia repair).
- Delivery problems. Conditions like erectile dysfunction, premature ejaculation, and retrograde ejaculation (semen goes backward into the bladder) prevent semen from leaving the penis as it should.
Men’s Fertility Evaluation and Treatment
We use the latest approaches to find and treat male fertility problems. In some instances, lifestyle changes can improve reproductive health. Discontinuing medicines, quitting smoking, reducing alcohol consumption, and exercising regularly can improve men’s fertility.
Our fertility experts work closely with urologists to address complex problems that need advanced treatment, including minimally invasive surgery.
- Semen analysis. We use a sample of your semen and examine it in the lab. We check the volume of semen, sperm count, and the quality of sperm — their shape and movement ability.
- Immunobead testing. Some men produce antibodies that cause an allergic reaction to sperm, which can affect fertility.
- Hormone testing. This blood test measures levels of testosterone and other male reproductive hormones.
- Epididymal aspiration. This procedure uses a small incision in the scrotum to collect fluid from the duct where sperm is stored. It can be used to evaluate sperm or retrieve them for an in vitro fertilization (IVF) procedure — either to use right away or to freeze and store for a later IVF cycle.
- Testicular sperm extraction (TESE). We make a small incision in the scrotum to collect a small sample of testicular tissue and collect the sperm. Your doctor may use this method if you have reduced sperm production or if epididymal aspiration was unsuccessful.
- Surgery. When fertility problems are caused by a blockage or structural problem, our surgeons offer the latest approaches to restore fertility, including minimally invasive surgery.
Men’s Fertility Preservation
If you have a health condition, such as cancer, or plan to have a vasectomy, you can choose to save your sperm — before beginning cancer treatment or your vasectomy — to use later for IVF.
We take a semen sample and collect the healthy sperm cells, which are frozen and stored (cryopreservation). Frozen sperm can be kept for more than 20 years. Cryopreservation allows you to begin a family even if cancer treatments like chemotherapy, radiation therapy, or surgery cause infertility.
We work with a well-respected, national provider of long-term cryopreservation services. You can be confident your sperm is stored safely.