The main sign of male infertility is the inability to conceive a child. There may be no other obvious signs or symptoms. In some cases, however, an underlying problem such as an inherited disorder, hormonal imbalance, dilated veins around the testicle, or a condition that blocks the passage of sperm may cause signs and symptoms. Male infertility signs and symptoms may include:
- The inability to conceive a child
- Problems with sexual function — for example, difficulty with ejaculation, reduced sexual desire or difficulty maintaining an erection (erectile dysfunction)
- Pain, swelling or a lump in the testicle area
- Recurrent respiratory infections
- Decreased facial or body hair or other signs of a chromosomal or hormonal abnormality
- Having a lower than normal sperm count (fewer than 15 million sperm per milliliter of semen or a total sperm count of less than 39 million per ejaculate)
When to see a doctor
See a doctor if you:
Jun. 13, 2014
- Are unable to conceive a child after a year of regular, unprotected sexual intercourse
- Have erection or ejaculation problems, low sex drive, or other problems with sexual function
- Have pain, discomfort, a lump or swelling in the testicle area
- Have a history of testicle, prostate or sexual problems
- Have had groin, testicle, penis or scrotum surgery
- European Association of Urology Guidelines on Male Infertility: The 2012 Update. Arnhem, Netherlands: European Association of Urology. http://www.uroweb.org/guidelines/online-guidelines. Accessed July 20, 2012.
- McPhee SJ, et al. Current Medical Diagnosis & Treatment 2012. 51st ed. New York, N.Y.: The McGraw-Hill Companies; 2012. http://www.accessmedicine.com/resourceTOC.aspx?resourceID=1. Accessed July 20, 2012.
- Swerdloff RF, et al. Causes of male infertility. http://www.uptodate.com/home/index. Accessed July 19, 2012.
- Patel ZP, et al. Male factor assessment in infertility. Medical Clinics of North America. 2011;95:223.
- The optimal evaluation of the infertile male: AUA best practice statement. Linthicum, Md.: American Urological Association Education and Research, Inc. http://www.guideline.gov/content.aspx?id=23921&search=male+infertility. Accessed July 19, 2012.
- Loughlin KR. Changes in male fertility in the last two decades. Urology Clinics of North America. 2012;39:33.
- Asplund C, et al. Genitourinary problems in bicyclists. Current Sports Medicine Reports. 2007;6:333.
- Frey KA. Male reproductive health and infertility. Primary Care Clinics Office Practice. 2010;37:643.
- Swerdloff RF, et al. Evaluation of male infertility. http://www.uptodate.com/home/index. Accessed July 19, 2012.
- Showell MG, et al. Antioxidants for male subfertility. Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews. http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1002/14651858.CD007411.pub2/abstract. Accessed July 23, 2012.
- Patel SR, et al. Antioxidant therapy in male infertility. Urology Clinics of North America. 2008;35:319.
- De Celis R, et al. Semen quality of workers occupationally exposed to hydrocarbons. Fertility and Sterility. 2000;73:221.
- Swan SH. Semen quality in fertile US men in relation to geographical area and pesticide exposure exposed to hydrocarbons. International Journal of Andrology. 2006;26:62.
- El-Helaly M, et al. Workplace exposures and male infertility - A case control study. International Journal of Occupational Medicine and Environmental Health 2010;23:331.
- Murphy LE, et al. Folate and vitamin B12 in idiopathic male infertility. Asian Journal of Andrology. 2011;13:856.
- Lenzi A, et al. Use of carnitine therapy in selected cases of male factor infertility: A double-blind crossover trial. Fertility and Sterility. 2003;79:292.
- Ross C, et al. A systematic review of the effect of oral antioxidants on male infertility. Reproductive BioMedicine Online. 2010;20:711.
- Menezeo Y, et al. Antioxidants to reduce sperm DNA fragmentation: An unexpected adverse effect. Reproductive BioMedicine Online. 2007;14:418.
You Are ... The Campaign for Mayo Clinic
Mayo Clinic is a not-for-profit organization. Make a difference today.