Unexplained Infertility in Men – What it is and How to Treat it?

6 min read

Written by Aparna Hari

Aparna Hari

What is Unexplained Infertility

Infertility is often associated with women but that is obviously not true. In almost 30% of infertility cases, the male factor infertility is responsible. Thus, evaluating male fertility is equally important when a couple suffers from non-conception. But sometimes fertility test reports do not reveal the actual reasons for infertility. This condition is medically termed as unexplained infertility and if it is the test report of the male then it will be termed as unexplained infertility in men.

Unexplained infertility in men is a situation when the physical or mental factor causing infertility is not getting detected through conventional fertility tests. Unexplained infertility in men does not suggest they cannot procreate. It, in fact, demands a deeper introspection into the person’s mental and medical history. And with a successful analysis, the person can fight back his infertility with time. Here is what you must kxfnow about unexplained infertility in men, its causes and treatments.

In This Article

What is Unexplained Infertility?

Unexplained infertility is a condition when the actual reason behind infertility remains hidden after conducting several fertility tests. In this case, the healthcare provider failed to diagnose the cause of the infertility of a person or a couple. Generally, couples suffering from infertility have to go through lots of fertility tests to get confirmation about what reasons are causing infertility in them.

Female infertility occurs most of the time because of ovulation-related issues and for men, it happens due to issues related to sperm. There can be several other factors causing infertility in both men and women. But in case of unexplained infertility, everything seems normal in the test reports as the fertility tests fail to find out the cause of infertility. Healthcare providers will only declare unexplained infertility after testing both partners. Male unexplained infertility may seem to be a hopeless condition where to-the-point treatment cannot be given due to the lack of clarity. But with proper medical assistance, conception is possible.

Unexplained Infertility in Men

What Causes Unexplained Infertility in men

Unexplained infertility in men is a condition when routine analysis of semen does not figure out any abnormalities regarding its quantity or quality or shape or structure. Healthcare providers will only declare a man to be suffering from unexplained male infertility if both his physical and endocrine checkup results are normal and his female partner has already been ruled out from infertility factors.

Causes of Unexplained Infertility in Men

The factors that can cause unexplained infertility in men include immunological causes, coital factors, erectile problems, and sperm dysfunction.

According to the report of NCBI, low levels of leukocytospermia, sperm dysfunctions in cellular and sub-cellular levels and genetic disorders can cause unexplained male infertility.

Other factors that can be responsible for unexplained male infertility are

  • Childhood diseases such as mumps or undescended testicles
  • Delayed puberty which can cause diseases like Klinefelter’s syndrome
  • Previous surgery of the bladder or testicles
  • Exposure to testicular heat due to febrile illness
  • Extreme exercise in tight and unbreathable clothes
  • Exposure to extreme heat which can reduce the function of the testicles and sperm count.
  • Exposure to toxins such as lead, agricultural chemicals, radiation, etc. due to occupational or environmental reasons
  • History of testicular torsion; in this case, the testicles get twisted on their pedicle which leads to a reduction in blood flow
  • History of abuse and trauma; testicular injury due to childhood abuse can cause vascular injuries and permanent damage to the testicles
  • Sexually transmitted diseases such as Chlamydia or Gonorrhea
  • Smoking and drinking
  • History of using medicines infamous for affecting reproductive functions.
  • Poorly timed intercourse

Symptoms of Unexplained Infertility in Men

The symptoms of unexplained infertility in men are not different from the general infertility symptoms.

  • In the case of unexplained infertility in men, the male fails to make his partner conceive after one year of unprotected sex but without any prominent reason.
  • The symptoms of infertility here are more difficult to point out even after fertility tests.
  • In fact, this condition is termed unexplained infertility because it has no outward symptoms.
  • Though outward symptoms may be unavailable in the case of unexplained infertility, symptoms related to mental stress, trauma, childhood abuse, genetic disorder, etc. can be associated with it.

How is Unexplained Infertility in Men Diagnosed?

Diagnosing unexplained male infertility

Here are a few diagnostic tests for infertile men who otherwise show a normal semen analysis report.

1. Sperm Function Tests

Men with unexplained infertility generally show poor sperm function test results despite having good results on the basic semen analysis tests.

2. Other Tests

Additional tests include

  • Intricate semen and DNA tests
  • Complete medical, mental and sexual history and evaluation
  • Complete physical examination to detect problems in other organs affecting reproductive ability.
  • Frequent blood tests to measure the levels of important reproductive hormones such as FSH, LH, prolactin, etc

Treatment Options For Unexplained Infertility

As doctors will fail to identify the cause of infertility in this scenario, they can only recommend treatments on the basis of their previous similar cases in accordance with your individual reports. Treatments for unexplained infertility will also depend on your age and urgency to become a father.

The most common treatments for unidentified male infertility are

1. Improved Intercourse Timing

Often the timing of intercourse does not fit according to the time of ovulation. Predicting ovulation in women with an irregular menstrual cycle thus ovulation kits, basal body temperature measurements, etc. are used.

[Read : Lifestyle Changes When Trying To Conceive]

2. Lifestyle Changes

Couples with unexplained infertility can sometimes conceive successfully by following a healthy diet and lifestyle. Daily exercise, proper sleep, meditation, maintaining a healthy weight and diet, a stress-free mind, and avoidance of alcohol, caffeine, and smoking can increase your reproductive capabilities.

3. Psychological Treatment

Doctors may work on improving the confidence of the man who is otherwise healthy but suffering from mental trauma or insecurities during sex.

4. Assisted Reproductive Technology or ART

ART treatments such as intrauterine insemination and invitro fertilization make fertilization of the egg to create an embryo inside the lab possible. In the case of IUI, sperm is taken from the male to wash and concentrate in a particular order before injecting it into the uterus of the female during ovulation. IVF on the other hand creates the embryo on the lab plate before injecting it into the uterus to grow.

[Read : Basics Of IUI and IVF (Assisted Reproduction Techniques)]

When to Consult a Doctor?

When to consult doctor

You must consult a doctor for unexplained infertility when

  • You have unsuccessfully tried for pregnancy between six months and a year
  • All medical reports and checkups for you and your spouse seem fine but you can’t conceive
  • You have insecurities about your genital or its capacity for reproduction
  • There is a history of childhood abuse that impacts your performance in bed consciously or subconsciously
  • You have a family history of genetic disorders causing infertility in men

If your medical reports do not show the problem causing your infertility, do not lose hope. There may be psychological or genetic issues you need to fight back. You must know that about 90% of people declared as having unexplained infertility ultimately becomes parents by taking the help of some sort of ARTs. With the enhancement of medical science, fertility treatment is getting more successful and easily accessible. So be positive.


1. What Percentage of Male Infertility is Unexplained?

About 15 to 30% of couples suffering from infertility are diagnosed as having unexplained infertility. And among them, about 2 to 5% of men suffer from unexplained infertility.

2. Can an Infertile Man Become Fertile Again?

Yes, it is not impossible to become fertile once you have been declared infertile. Especially if the environmental factors, stress and lifestyle are the reason behind your infertility then you can enhance your fertility just by eradicating them from your life.

Read Also: What Are The Different Types Of Assisted Reproductive Technologies? 

Aparna Hari,MBA in Marketing,P.G. Diploma in Human Resource Management from IGNOU Bachelor of Sciences (Home Science) from Nagarjuna University

Her experience in impactful writing combined with her background in Home Sciences makes Aparna the perfect candidate for content writing in the pregnancy and parenting niche.Read more.

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