Major Causes of Male Infertility

Male plumbing seems simple, but a lot can go wrong with a man’s reproductive system. Learn about the common causes of male infertility and their treatments.

The male reproductive system seems fairly straightforward. No precisely tuned monthly cycle. Not nearly the mileage of plumbing that you find in the average female. Only one product: sperm. Still, there is still a surprising amount that can go wrong with the works. Fortunately, many of the biggest problems can be overcome either at home or with the help of a physician. Below are the most common causes of male infertility issues. You can also take our online test to find out if you have any major risk factors.


Surprisingly, one of the biggest issues that can cause low sperm count and fertility problems in guys is how you treat your body. Poor diet. Lack of exercise. Obesity. Stress. All of these can take a hammer to your count and motility which adds up to another month of waiting to have a kid. The good news is you can do something about it. Try the best you can to eat right, hit the gym, and chill out.


Don’t cook your balls. Seriously, anything that causes you to overheat down there can have a big effect on your fertility. If you are trying to have a kid get the laptop off of your lap, skip the hot tub or sauna at the gym (you are going right?), turn down the temp on the shower. Fortunately, if you turn down the heat, your guys will recover in time. According to a recent scientific paper, cutting out the hot tub for a couple of months can increase your sperm count by 600%!

Plumbing problems

We guys are a lot simpler than the women folk, but there are still some pipes under the hood. A blockage or misdirection of a critical tube and you might not get your boys to where they are needed. Many of these problems can be corrected with the help of a physician. If you want to know more, check out our primer on guys anatomy.


The second commandment following “don’t cook your balls” might be “don’t poison your balls”. An occasional drink is fine and might help you get in the mood to make a baby, but don’t get hammered. Alcohol may or may not kill brain cells, but enough of it does kill sperm. Cut out the smoking too, and try not to pop more pills than Johnny Depp. Drugs, both the respectable variety and the shady variety can leave you (and the missus) waiting for the stork. You might also want to avoid touching any chemical that smells like it belongs in a lab rather than your house. We have compiled an exhaustive list of stuff to avoid when you are trying.


Cancer is one of those things in life that we wish simply never happened. Unfortunately this terrible scourge can also effect your fertility. Sometimes permanently. Testicular cancer is obviously bad for sperm counts, but the treatments we use to kill cancer cells are also damaging to the cells that become sperm. If you are slated to go on radiation or chemotherapy and might want to have your own kids in the future, talk to your doctor about options for preserving some sperm for posterity. If you have already survived cancer, there are specialists we can recommend. We salute you.

Hormone imbalances

It turns out women aren’t the only ones that can become hormonally imbalanced. Your testicles need the right signals from your body to keep cranking out good sperm. If you turn out to have a low sperm count or low motility, there are treatments that can correct these imbalances. Anabolic steroids, popular with bodybuilders, wreck absolute havoc on a man’s hormonal balance and can send your count all the way to zero. See our section on resources for more information.

Genetic issues

Rarely, there is an issue in your genes that prevents or blocks sperm production. Sometimes this can be corrected as with guys with Cystic Fibrosis, which causes a natural vasectomy that can be reversed. We are glad to hear modern treatments are allowing men with CF to live fulfilling lives and even have children. Other genetic wrinkles that can cause male infertility are Klinefelter syndrome, Young’s sydrome, Kartagener syndrome, and Kallmann’s syndrome.

Sexual dysfunction

Sometimes a problem with having a kid can come down to misfiring. The stress of trying can take the romance out of your relationship. A surprising number of conception problems come down to trouble making the connection. See our section on resources or talk to the helpful people in our forum if you would like help. You are not alone.

Sara SDx

Sara SDx

Editor of Don't Cook your Balls, Co-Founder of, Health Coach and Men's Health Advocate. Passionate about sperm, men's health and helping people build their families.
Sara SDx

Author: Sara SDx

Editor of Don't Cook your Balls, Co-Founder of, Health Coach and Men's Health Advocate. Passionate about sperm, men's health and helping people build their families.

6 thoughts on “Major Causes of Male Infertility”

  1. Hey. My dh and I have been trying for a baby for the past 8 yrs and no luck. First I had pcos and it put a strain on us, we took a break from our relationship and in that time my dh got someone pregnant unfortunately she had a lost. A year after we got back together and started trying again only to find out he has azoospermia. Our world came crashing again.
    Idk what to do anymore as we have exhausted all our money trying and I think a baby would be the only thing that will keep us alive.
    Help me

    1. Has DH been to a urologist?

      The next best step for him is to confirm azoospermia and determine the cause. The urologist should be able identify what is going on and provide a recommendation for next steps.

      Here’s a description of what the work up should include and here’s a list of doctors that are specially trained to handle cases of azoospermia.

      What other type of support / information do you think would be useful for you right now?

  2. I smoke 2-3 ciggarettes a day. Will it affect my sperm count. Pls suggest some tips to enhance my sperm count. Suggest some medicines also.

    1. Smoking can cause a decline in sperm count, motility and morphology. I would highly recommend quitting if you can. At a minimum, you might want to try e-cigs or reducing as much as possible. second hand smoke can also harm a women’s reproductive system and her chances of conception.

      There aren’t really medicines to improve sperm count. The best way to do it is to do the hard work of being healthy. Avoiding cigarettes, alcohol and other chemicals. Eating a healthy diet with lots of fruits and vegetables and low in sugar. Get enough exercise especially jogging and lifting weights is helpful for sperm and sleeping well at night. Lower stress levels and avoid heat. Those things have all been shown to help boost sperm and help people get pregnant more quickly. Does that help?

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