Infertility is not just a women’s issue. In fact, infertility affects men and women equally. In couples experiencing infertility, approximately 35% is due to male factors, 35% is due to female factors, 20% of cases have a combination of both male and female factors, and the last 10% are unexplained causes.

So what causes male fertility issues? Male infertility can be due to low sperm production, abnormal sperm function, or blockages that prevent the delivery of sperm. Illnesses, injuries, chronic health problems, lifestyle choices, and other factors may also contribute to male infertility.


In some cases, male infertility is able to be treated with lifestyle changes, supplements, medication, and/or surgery. Other patients must undergo assisted reproduction technologies such as IUI or IVF in order to achieve a successful pregnancy with their partner. For male patients with Azoospermia (no sperm), donor sperm is often used to achieve pregnancy.

For many men and their partners, male factor infertility is an emotional journey as well as a physical one. In the case of our friend Eloise at Fertility Help Hub, her husband Jack was diagnosed with Azoospermia due to a genetic condition called Klinefelter Syndrome. They ultimately went the donor sperm route to have their three children via IVF, but the road to get there was far from easy.

We had the chance to ask Jack a few questions about his male factor infertility diagnosis, how it affected him emotionally, and whether or not he has any regrets about pursuing donor sperm to grow his family with Eloise. This is what he said:

Q: How did being diagnosed with male factor infertility make you feel?

A: It was initially upsetting, but I’m a pragmatic kind of guy, so it didn’t take me long to look at the bright side of never having to use contraception again, my sex drive going through the roof after each of my testosterone injections, and being able to ‘select’ our future children through the IVF process.

Q: Do you think you could have been given the news in a better way and with more support?

A: Absolutely. The clinic that we went to for diagnostic testing didn’t seem to have come across Klinefelter Syndrome before. The doctor was also not very articulate or particularly knowledgeable in the way he delivered the news to us about my infertility.

We ended up going to the U.S. for treatment. There, I had a microTESE (microsurgical testicular sperm extraction), which is a surgical procedure used to retrieve sperm in men with non-obstructive Azoospermia. Once we realized there was no viable sperm for us to use, we decided to move on to donor sperm.


Q: Would you have the microTESE procedure again? Do you have any regrets?

A: Hindsight is a beautiful thing. With this in mind, I would absolutely not do it again. I do not have any regrets though, as this was the only sure-fire way of knowing whether or not there was potentially any viable sperm for us to use prior to moving on to donor sperm.

Q: What are your thoughts and feelings around using a sperm donor to have your children?

A: I love the fact that there are men out there that are willing to give such an incredible gift. I love my children. Enough said.

Q: Do you have any infertility scars now?

A: No. How could I? I have three beautiful children.

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Q: What advice would you give to any men struggling?

A: Use ice packs after the microTESE procedure, and seek support from a therapist if you feel you need it.

Male factor infertility can be an emotionally complex diagnosis, leading to feelings of guilt, shame, and emasculation. But men are emotionally affected by infertility even when the diagnosis isn’t their own. When my husband and I were trying to conceive, our infertility was due to anovulation caused by my own diagnosis of Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS). Even though the ‘problem’ was mine, my husband still felt the full spectrum of infertility-related emotions, from the guilt of not being able to attend every appointment to the helplessness of not having to bear the brunt of the physical side-effects of treatments.

Even though I was dealing with my own feelings of grief and inadequacy over not being able to start a family in the way we had hoped, I had to consistently remind myself to take my husband’s feelings into consideration as well. I got him involved in the process in any way that I could, and when we started IVF I had him handle all of the medication duties, from mixing shots to administering injections.


Having my husband play a more active role in our treatment helped us two-fold: I felt less like I was carrying the entire physical burden of IVF on my shoulders, and he felt more in control of the situation. It forced us to communicate more, made our relationship stronger, and in tackling infertility together as a team, set us up for success as parents of twins.

Whether it’s male infertility, female infertility, or unexplained infertility, everyone processes an infertility diagnosis differently. That’s why it’s so important to communicate with your partner about what you’re feeling at any given time on your fertility journey. Ask them how they are feeling and support them how you would want to be supported. Lastly, don’t forget to seek help—individually, or as a couple—if you feel you need it. 

To read more about Male Factor Infertility on Laurel Fertility Care’s website, click here. To watch our Instagram Live with Fertility Help Hub and Laurel Fertility Care about ‘The Emotional Journey of Male Factor Infertility,’ click here.