If you've been trying to get pregnant and you haven't yet had any success, there could be a number of reasons.

But if you're sure everything's OK and you don't have any of these signs or symptoms, it might be time to talk to your partner. There might be something going on 'down there' that you have not considered in your journey to getting pregnant. 

Often there are no visible symptoms when it comes to your man's reproductive health. In some cases, however, an underlying health problem, such as an inherited disorder, hormonal imbalance, dilated veins around the testicle or a condition that blocks the passage of sperm will give you an indication that further medical investigation is worthwhile. 

Signs and symptoms associated with male infertility include:

  • Pain, swelling or a lump in the testicle area
  • Inability to smell
  • Recurrent respiratory infections
  • Problems with sexual function – difficulty ejaculating, or small volumes of fluid ejaculated, low sex drive or erectile dysfunction
  • Abnormal breast growth
  • Decreased facial or body hair

When should your partner see a doctor?

If you and your partner have been trying for a baby for over a year after having regular, unprotected sex, it is worth speaking to a doctor. In addition, you should make an appointment if:  

  • You have ejaculation problems, low sex drive or other sexual function problems
  • Have pain or discomfort around the testicles
  • Have a history of testicle or prostate problems
  • Have had surgery on your groin, testicle, penis or scrotum

Male infertility can be caused by many different health issues and medical treatments. Some of these include:

  • Infection – some infections can interfere with sperm health or can cause scarring that blocks the passage of sperm.
  • Ejaculation issues
  • Antibodies that attack sperm
  • Tumors
  • Hormone imbalance
  • Chromosome defects
  • Coeliac disease
  • Certain medications – e.g. long term steroid use, cancer medication, ulcer drugs

Male infertility can also be caused by environmental factors. Overexposure to heat, toxins and chemicals can reduce sperm production or sperm function. 

Personal issues including drug use, alcohol, smoking, emotional stress and weight may also affect fertility in men. 

If your partner has never been to see a doctor about fertility and you are having difficulty conceiving, it's highly recommended that you book an appointment with your GP as soon as possible. Before you see your doctor, write down any symptoms you're experiencing, whether you have a family history of fertility problems, make a list of the medication you're taking and write down any questions you have for your doctor. 

If you’re looking for more information on signs and symptoms of infertility, download our eBook, Common Signs of Infertility.

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Andrew Drakeley

Mr Andrew Drakeley is the Clinical Director at the Hewitt Fertility Centre, working principally at the Liverpool Women’s site but with managerial responsibility for Knutsford.

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