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Male Infertility Symptoms

In most cases, there are no obvious signs of infertility. Intercourse, erections and ejaculation usually happen without difficulty. The quantity and appearance of ejaculated semen generally appears normal to the naked eye. The only symptom most men with male infertility may notice is the inability to conceive a child, but other signs and symptoms may be associated with male infertility, depending upon the cause:

  • problems with sexual function; for example, difficulty with ejaculation or small volumes of fluid ejaculated, reduced sexual desire or difficulty maintaining an erection (erectile dysfunction)
  • pain, swelling or a lump in the testes area
  • recurrent respiratory infections
  • inability to smell
  • abnormal breast growth in men
  • decreased facial or body hair, or other signs of a genetic or hormonal abnormality
  • lower than normal sperm count (fewer than 15 million sperms per millilitre of semen or a total sperm count of less than 39 million per ejaculate)


Infertility can be stressful for couples. Complications related to male infertility may include the following:

  • surgery or other procedures to treat an underlying cause of low sperm count or other reproductive problems;
  • expensive reproductive techniques;
  • strain in relationship due to the inability to have a child;
  • infertility in both partners may complicate the treatment;
  • severe infertility or infertility for more than three years is more difficult to treat;
  • advancing age may cause a sense of urgency about the treatment;
  • failure in treatment can cause frustration, resentment, a feeling of inadequacy, anger, guilt and marital problems; and
  • time and financial costs of fertility treatment may cause an additional burden.

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