Male Infertility

It can be stressful and frustrating when attempts to conceive are unsuccessful—our experts can help

If you and your partner have been attempting to conceive a baby for more than a year, there may be an underlying medical or surgical condition that is preventing pregnancy. This can cause stress and frustration, which can increase these challenges. IU Health specialists can help.

Understanding Male Infertility

How common is male infertility? Nearly one in seven couples struggle with infertility, which means they cannot conceive a baby even though they are having frequent, unprotected sex for at least a year. Male infertility plays a role in about half of these cases. The stress and pressure to conceive a child can even cause a lot of men to suffer erectile dysfunction or an inability to ejaculate. Our board-certified and fellowship-trained academic urologist can help you navigate these challenges and find a solution.

There are many issues that can cause male infertility, including:

  • Low sperm production
  • Abnormal sperm function
  • Blockages
  • Illnesses
  • Injuries
  • Chronic health problems like celiac disease, Klinefelter or Kallmann syndromes or cystic fibrosis
  • Tobacco use, marijuana use and exposure to heavy metals, lead fumes or paints
  • History of chemotherapy or radiation
  • Medications
  • Prior surgeries or vasectomies
  • Undescended testicles at birth
  • Frequent hot tub or sauna use
  • Over the age of 35

Diagnosing Male Infertility

If you or your partner are concerned about fertility, visiting a male infertility doctor can help you identify the potential causes and come up with a personalized treatment plan. During your initial visit, you will have a physical exam, and your doctor will ask about your medical history, including when you started puberty, any medical conditions you may have and any medications you are taking.

Based on this conversation, your doctor may pursue additional testing, such as:

  • Semen analysis to check the count, motility and shape of the sperm in your body as well as the volume of ejaculate
  • Blood tests or hormone testing to check testosterone levels or follicle stimulating and luteinizing hormones
  • Scrotal ultrasound to check for damage or abnormalities in the testicles, such as testicle varicoceles
  • Post-ejaculate urinalysis to check for sperm in the urine. This can be caused by retrograde ejaculation, or ejaculation that flows backwards into the body
  • Testicular biopsy when other tests are unclear

Overview of Male Infertility

Understanding Male Infertility

How common is male infertility? Nearly one in seven couples struggle with infertility, which means they cannot conceive a baby even though they are having frequent, unprotected sex for at least a year. Male infertility plays a role in about half of these cases. The stress and pressure to conceive a child can even cause a lot of men to suffer erectile dysfunction or an inability to ejaculate. Our board-certified and fellowship-trained academic urologist can help you navigate these challenges and find a solution.

There are many issues that can cause male infertility, including:

  • Low sperm production
  • Abnormal sperm function
  • Blockages
  • Illnesses
  • Injuries
  • Chronic health problems like celiac disease, Klinefelter or Kallmann syndromes or cystic fibrosis
  • Tobacco use, marijuana use and exposure to heavy metals, lead fumes or paints
  • History of chemotherapy or radiation
  • Medications
  • Prior surgeries or vasectomies
  • Undescended testicles at birth
  • Frequent hot tub or sauna use
  • Over the age of 35

Diagnosing Male Infertility

If you or your partner are concerned about fertility, visiting a male infertility doctor can help you identify the potential causes and come up with a personalized treatment plan. During your initial visit, you will have a physical exam, and your doctor will ask about your medical history, including when you started puberty, any medical conditions you may have and any medications you are taking.

Based on this conversation, your doctor may pursue additional testing, such as:

  • Semen analysis to check the count, motility and shape of the sperm in your body as well as the volume of ejaculate
  • Blood tests or hormone testing to check testosterone levels or follicle stimulating and luteinizing hormones
  • Scrotal ultrasound to check for damage or abnormalities in the testicles, such as testicle varicoceles
  • Post-ejaculate urinalysis to check for sperm in the urine. This can be caused by retrograde ejaculation, or ejaculation that flows backwards into the body
  • Testicular biopsy when other tests are unclear

Depending on the cause, your doctor may recommend a variety of male infertility treatment options, including:

    • Behavioral or lifestyle changes, such as quitting smoking tobacco and marijuana use or avoiding hot tubs and saunas
    • Medications or supplements, such as those to increase testosterone and improve sperm parameters
    • Surgery to correct or repair testicular varicoceles, dilated veins, vasectomy reversals or blockage removals like ejaculatory duct obstructions
    • Surgical sperm retrieval techniques, like testicular sperm aspirations, testicular biopsy or a MicroTESE (microdissection testicular sperm extraction)
    • Electroejaculation, a procedure that uses mild shock waves to elicit ejaculation. This is often used in patients who’ve had cancer treatment, trauma or spinal or nerve injuries

    Male Infertility Treatments

    Depending on the cause, your doctor may recommend a variety of male infertility treatment options, including:

      • Behavioral or lifestyle changes, such as quitting smoking tobacco and marijuana use or avoiding hot tubs and saunas
      • Medications or supplements, such as those to increase testosterone and improve sperm parameters
      • Surgery to correct or repair testicular varicoceles, dilated veins, vasectomy reversals or blockage removals like ejaculatory duct obstructions
      • Surgical sperm retrieval techniques, like testicular sperm aspirations, testicular biopsy or a MicroTESE (microdissection testicular sperm extraction)
      • Electroejaculation, a procedure that uses mild shock waves to elicit ejaculation. This is often used in patients who’ve had cancer treatment, trauma or spinal or nerve injuries

      IU School of Medicine offers the only Andrology/Male Sexual and Reproductive Medicine Fellowship in the state, in which we are committed to training the next generation of physicians to care for patients dealing with sexual and reproductive conditions, like infertility. We have compassionate, board-certified and fellowship-trained urologists available to help you.

      Wellness and Support

      At IU Health we have fellowship-trained specialists who can help you and your partner come up with a personalized approach to dealing with male infertility. We understand how stressful and frustrating this can be, so we offer support groups and educational resources. We also work together with reproductive endocrinologists, who specialize in female infertility, to treat the couple in a personalized and holistic way.

      Research

      IU School of Medicine offers the only Andrology/Male Sexual and Reproductive Medicine Fellowship in the state, in which we are committed to training the next generation of physicians to care for patients dealing with sexual and reproductive conditions, like infertility. We have compassionate, board-certified and fellowship-trained urologists available to help you.

      Wellness and Support

      At IU Health we have fellowship-trained specialists who can help you and your partner come up with a personalized approach to dealing with male infertility. We understand how stressful and frustrating this can be, so we offer support groups and educational resources. We also work together with reproductive endocrinologists, who specialize in female infertility, to treat the couple in a personalized and holistic way.

      Patient Stories for Male Infertility