Here’s a look at some prominent male fertility statistics, grouped by category.
Pulling from various resources, we’ve gathered some data that will help you — and those you love — understand that male infertility is a problem that many people deal with. Once you understand this, we hope that it will be easier to seek male fertility testing and treatment so you can become a father.
As defined by the World Health Organization, infertility is “a disease of the reproductive system defined by the failure to achieve a clinical pregnancy after 12 months or more of regular unprotected sexual intercourse.”
Overall Male Fertility
While infertility has long been thought of as a female problem, the Centers for Disease Control reassures us that it is not. The latest data on infertility found that:
- In 35% of couples who experience infertility, a male factor is identified along with a female factor.
- In 8% of couples with infertility, a male factor is the only cause.
- In 10% of couples, neither has an identifiable cause of infertility.
No one likes to be thought of as a statistic, yet knowing that millions of other people share the same or similar challenges as you do can be a relief.
Common Types of Male Infertility
While there are many different factors that can affect male fertility, there is a handful that are considered to be the most common. These range from low (or no) sperm to medical conditions that affect sperm production.
- 10 to 15% of infertile men have azoospermia — the complete absence of sperm in the semen
- Varicocele, an enlarged vein in the testicle, accounts for 40% – 50% of male infertility
- 50% of men dealing with infertility have low sperm counts
- 1 in 5 men between the ages of 18 and 25 produce low sperm counts. Between 5 and 15% of their sperm is considered “normal” by the World Health Organization.
- 30% of men aged 40 to 79 have a testosterone deficiency
- In 50% of cases, the cause of male infertility can’t be determined
While not all inclusive, understanding that these are the most common types of male infertility — and just how common they are — can help you decide what to seek testing for.
Lifestyle Factors that Affect Male Fertility
Even if you have no hormonal imbalance and no medical condition that causes infertility, your lifestyle could pose a problem. Smoking, drinking, exposure to hormonal disruptors, age, and weight play big roles in your body’s ability to produce healthy sperm.
- Men over age 45 are 5 times as likely to have a child on the autism spectrum than men under 30
- Women whose partners are over age 45 are more likely to have a miscarriage
- Men are 14% more likely to be diagnosed with infertility if exposed to high-decibel noise at night
- 15 out of 23 recent studies show that obesity reduces sperm count and concentration
- Anti-depressants, anti-epilepsy medications, and other pharmaceutical drugs have varying effects on male infertility but are generally found to negatively impact sperm production and are prone to causing erectile dysfunction
- Avoiding things that can overheat your testicles for a few months — like hot tubs, holding your laptop in your lap, and wearing tight underwear — can help increase your sperm count by 600%
It’s clear that there has not been nearly enough research done that focuses solely on male infertility. This is unfortunate because it’s such a common problem. In a true catch-22, the lack of research contributes to the lack of awareness which serves only to perpetuate the lack of research done. Still, understanding that male infertility is common can go a long way in alleviating feelings of alienation and shame that so many men experience when faced with infertility.