There are many factors that could contribute to male infertility, from lifestyle choices (like a few too many nights at the pub) to genetic issues like chromosomal abnormalities.
9 possible causes of male infertility
Your partner kicking the habit can really increase your chances of getting pregnant. Research has shown that smoking reduces the quality of his sperm, causes lower sperm count and affects the sperms swimming patterns. All of this can make it much more difficult to conceive!
2) Alcohol and drugs
Regular trips to the pub could effect male fertility, according to a 2014 study. Just five drinks a week could contribute to fertility issues, not to mention lowering of libido and erectile issues associated with a few too many pints.
3) Some medications
Sadly, some medications can be a possible cause of male infertility. Medication that treats arthritis, depression, digestive problems, high blood pressure and cancer has been shown to affect fertility in some men. These drugs can cause problems with sperm production and motility. But these effects can be temporary, only causing issues while on the medication.
4) Abnormal sperm
Having issues with a low sperm count? Don't stress. This is a really common cause of fertility issues. Having abnormal sperm can mean not having enough sperm, sperm not moving fast enough or not being the right shape. There are also lots of ways your partner can boost their sperm count without medical intervention.
5) Testicular problems
Damage to this sensitive region could seriously impacy your partner's fertility. Problems with the testicals, including sports injuries, could affect the quantity and quality of sperm, making it much harder to conceive. Experts say it's important to keep the area cool and breezy, which might mean saying goodbye to those tight Calvin Kleins.
6) Low testosterone
If you're trying for a baby with no luck so far, your partner could be suffering from the effects of low testosterone. This is called Hypogonadism and means you don't produce enough testosterone. This could result in a low sperm count (less swimmers) and leave you not wanting to have sex. This condition can develop from birth or even after a serious illness or accident.
7) Ejaculation disorders
Sometimes infertility issues start in the bedroom. Problems like erectile dysfunction, retrograde ejaculation (where sperm is ejaculated backwards into the bladder) or anorgasmia. If your partner has nerve damage in their penis, they may not be able to have enough feeling to ejaculate, which could cause fertility issues.
8) Genetic causes
Genetic causes of infertility are quite rare, however they are a possible contributing factor to fertility issues in men. The most common genetic causes of infertility are Klinefelter Syndrome (where you're born with an extra X chromasome), Y chromasome deletions (which affects sperm production), and Down Syndrome. The issues can also be caused by mutations in single genes, but this is super rare.
Yes - even stress can sometimes cause infertility. Studies have found that stresses about money, health and life in general can reduce sperm and semen quality. So if you're trying for a baby, try to keep stress levels at bay.
After training as a journalist at Cardiff University, Louella now works in Audience Development across Bauer’s lifestyle brands.
She has also written for The Sunday Times Travel, Grazia, Heatworld, Closer and her food blog, Louella’s Kitchen, where she writes about everything from Portuguese surf camps to the best mushroom bolognese.