In approximately 40 percent of infertile couples, the male partner is the sole cause and in 20 percent a contributing cause, of infertility. Despite the male factor being at least partly responsible in about 60 percent of infertile couples, infertility evaluations have traditionally focused on women, because women tend to seek gynecological care and because men often are reluctant to seek advice.
A variety of disorders ranging from hormonal disturbances to physical problems, to psychological problems can cause male infertility. Although many treatment options are now available, in many cases treatment will not work.
In many instances, male infertility is caused by testicular damage resulting in an inability of the testicle to produce sperm. Once damaged, the testicle will not usually regain its sperm-making capabilities; this aspect of male infertility is analogous to menopause (though not natural like menopause) for women and cannot usually be treated.
Despite medicine’s limited ability to treat male infertility, many successful treatment options are available today for its many causes. Besides testicular damage, the main causes of male infertility are low sperm production and poor sperm quality.
Asthenozoospermia (or asthenospermia) is the medical term for reduced sperm motility. Complete asthenozoospermia may be seen in metabolic deficiencies, ultra structural abnormalities of the sperm flagellum and necrozoospermia.
It decreases the sperm quality and is therefore one of the major causes of infertility or reduced fertility in men.
Azoospermia is the medical condition of a man not having any measurable level of sperm in his semen. It is associated with very low levels of fertility or even sterility, but many forms are amenable to medical treatment. In humans, azoospermia affects about 1% of the male population and may be seen in up to 20% of male infertility situations.
Oligozoospermia, refers to semen with a low concentration of sperm and is a common finding in male infertility. Often semen with a decreased sperm concentration may also show significant abnormalities in sperm morphology and motility (technically “oligoasthenoteratozoospermia”).
Teratospermia or teratozoospermia is a condition characterized by the presence of sperm with abnormal morphology that affects fertility in males.