What are the signs of male infertility?


It can be very stressful when you are ready to start a family with your partner and pregnancy doesn’t happen. In this blog, we look at the signs, symptoms, and causes of male infertility and what treatments are available.

The signs of male infertility

It can take a little while for conception to happen naturally. So try not to worry your partner doesn’t become pregnant immediately. However, if you’ve tried for a baby for over a year without success, it could be a sign of fertility problems. At this point, we recommend speaking to a medical professional.

The Clinic @ 78 has a team of experts covering a wide range of specialities, including urology. This is the branch of medicine that focuses on diseases of the urinary tract and the male reproductive tract.

There are two types of male infertility:

Primary infertility – you and your partner have never had children together or in previous relationships. 

Secondary infertility – when you and your partner have had children together or in previous relationships. But, you are now having problems conceiving.

The symptoms of male infertility are not always obvious. 

Signs of a medical condition:

  • Pain
  • Swelling
  • Prominent veins in the testicles 

You may have a problem with your prostate gland or the tube that carries sperm from the testicles if you experience:

  • Pain when ejaculating
  • Trouble ejaculating
  • Blood in your semen

Low hormone levels can cause a range of symptoms:

  • Mood changes
  • Tiredness
  • Weight gain
  • A lowered sex drive
  • Problems getting or keeping an erection 

When to speak to a urologist

If you have any of the symptoms described above, we recommend talking to a urologist. 

According to the National Institute for Clinical Excellence (NICE), infertility affects an estimated one in seven heterosexual couples in the UK. Around 30% of cases are due to factors in the male causing infertility. A quarter of cases of infertility have no identified male or female cause.

We advise seeking medical help if you’ve been trying for a baby for a year or two without success. However, stress and worry can contribute to fertility problems, so you may wish to seek an appointment sooner if you are concerned. 

There can be many different reasons for male fertility problems. The sooner we discover the cause, the sooner we can help you to move forward with your family plans. 

What causes male infertility?

There can be many different reasons that men experience infertility. Sometimes no particular cause is identified, which we refer to as unexplained infertility.

Sperm disorders

You may have

  • Too few sperm in your semen
  • Sperm that are abnormally shaped
  • Sperm that don’t move in the right way

Obstructive azoospermia is when you don’t have any sperm in your semen because of a blockage in the seminal ducts.

Ejaculation disorders

These are problems relating to the way you release semen. 

You may have

  • Erectile dysfunction – struggle to maintain an erection
  • Delayed ejaculation – you are unable to ejaculate inside your partner’s vagina 
  • Anorgasmia – unable to reach orgasm
  • Retrograde ejaculation – your semen is released backwards into your bladder, rather than out of your body

While some of these problems have a physical cause, some are psychological.


This is an insufficient quantity of the hormone testosterone that affects your sex drive and sperm count. 

Lifestyle factors

  • Stress
  • Ageing
  • Smoking
  • Alcohol and drugs
  • Being overweight
  • Exposure to chemicals
  • Injury
  • Certain types of medication and treatments (including chemotherapy)

Other causes of fertility issues include genetic diseases and testicle growth and function problems.

Diagnosing male infertility

Often there is more than a single cause in infertile couples. We recommend you both seek medical help in case you need infertility testing. Diagnosing male infertility usually involves a medical examination to check for injuries, illnesses, or inherited conditions that could affect fertility. 

We will ask about your general state of health, previous pregnancies, lifestyle choices, and stress levels. You may need to provide a sample of semen to test for the number, size, shape, and movement levels of the sperm. 

We also look for any abnormalities in shape and signs of infection. You may also need several additional tests, including scrotal ultrasound scans, to check for varicocele or hormone testing. 

You may also need

  • A blood test – to check hormone levels or for diseases, such as diabetes
  • A urine sample test – to check for retrograde ejaculation
  • An ultrasound scan – to check if your testicles are producing sperm and other tests

We can successfully remedy many causes of male infertility once we have established the cause. It is important to seek help early on so you can begin treatment.

Why choose The Clinic @ 78 for male infertility treatment?

At The Clinic @ 78, we take pride in our urology services. We are committed to excellent care for male fertility. Our highly trained team can help you get to the root of the problem as quickly as possible.

Our expert team offer a thorough consultation to discuss your issue and the treatment options available for you. We will then work with you to create a bespoke plan that covers all your concerns.

If you need to speak to a private urologist about male fertility, book a consultation today. Alternatively, call us on 01202 767000 for more information.

Resources for more information

Infertility causes

For more information about what causes infertility, visit the NHS website.

Sperm quality declines significantly after age 50

Read Healthline’s article on sperm quality. Healthline discusses the myth that men are fertile their entire lives.

What is a urology clinic and why go to one?

Our blog details what a urology clinic is and when you might need to visit one.

What are the best ways to increase sperm count?

In this article, Medical News Today recommends some natural methods to increase your sperm count.

Male reproductive system

Learn more about your reproductive system and how it should function.

More from the hub

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