The male fertility process involves the production of mature sperm and getting the sperm to reach and fertilize the egg. Although it may seem to be a simpler process than female fertility, male fertility also requires many conditions to be met: the ability to have and sustain an erection, having enough sperm, having enough semen to carry the sperm to the egg and having sperm of the right shape that move in the right way. A problem meeting any of these conditions contributes to infertility.
Like female infertility, male infertility can result from physical problems, such as testes that don’t make enough normal sperm, hormonal problems and lifestyle or environmental factors, including (but not limited to):
- Exposing the testes to high temperatures, which can affect the ability of the sperm to move and to fertilize an egg. For instance:
- Cryptorchism is a condition where the testes do not descend into the scrotum. Although it does not usually affect the ability to have and sustain an erection, cryptorchism means that the testes are still inside the body cavity, which has a higher temperature than the external scrotum.
- Tight underwear — For some men, wearing tight underwear can also increase the temperature of the testes.
- Smoking, drugs and alcohol
- Environmental toxins