Fertility Information

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You Don't Have to Live with Male Infertility

Dr. Larry Lipshultz has been diagnosing and treating male infertility for decades. He draws upon his experience as a pioneer in men's health to help our patients understand and resolve their male infertility issues. At our Houston, TX, practice, Dr. Lipshultz and his team of professionals work closely with patients to help enhance their reproductive health and quality of life. 

Common Causes of Male Infertility

If you and your partner have been unable to conceive after having consistent, unprotected sexual intercourse for a year or longer, you may suffer from male factor infertility. Male reproductive issues are grouped into three basic categories:

Pre-testicular Issues

Pre-testicular issues include more systemic and hormonal causes of male infertility rather than specific irregularities in the genitals. A man's reproductive system may not operate optimally if his general health is in any way compromised. Pre-testicular causes of male infertility include:

  • Obesity
  • Psychological stress
  • Unhealthy diet
  • Aging
  • Decrease in the sperm-stimulating hormones LH and FSH

Hypogonadism, or low testosterone, is also a pre-testicular cause of male infertility, and is often related to other general health factors.

Testicular Conditions

Sperm are produced in the testes, so any defects or disorders in the testes are likely to interfere with your ability to conceive. Testicular conditions can be hereditary, or they may occur as the result of trauma or prolonged exposure to chemicals or heat. Common testicular issues include:

  • Chromosomal disorders
  • Testicular trauma
  • Conditions related to aging
  • Excessive heat or friction
  • Infection
  • Testicular cancer (and related treatments)
  • Exposure to harsh chemicals or pesticides
  • Prior malaria or mumps, which can affect the testes
  • Low sperm production
  • Abnormal sperm shape

Post-testicular Conditions

In some cases, the sperm you produce may be completely healthy, but they for some reason cannot reach the tip of the penis properly to impregnate your partner. Post-testicular causes of male infertility include:

  • Prior vasectomy
  • An improperly positioned penile opening, also called hypospadias
  • Aspermia (lack of ejaculate)
  • Complications from hernia surgery
  • Retrograde ejaculation
  • Erectile dysfunction
  • Epididymis or ejaculatory duct obstructions
  • A missing or blocked vas deferens, which often occurs as a result of mutations in the cystic fibrosis gene