Advertisement

What role do genetics play in male infertility?

Genes determine how our bodies develop and function, and genetics plays an important role in known causes of male infertility. Although not all cases of male infertility are understood, more than half of cases can be categorized into malfunction of the brain's hormonal regulation of male reproductive organs, the primary function of male organs, or the transport system, all of which a simple gene mutation or addition can have dramatic influences on.

The brain hypothalamic-pituitary axis regulates hormones that cause the testes to develop and function. Approximately 1-2% of known male infertility cases are due to malfunction of this system, many from faulty genetics.

Thirty to 40% of male infertility cases arise from malfunction of the testes and the sperm and sex hormones these produce. Some cases are related to acquired conditions, but common conditions are genetic. For example, as high as 1 in 500 men are born with an additional x chromosome along with the normal x and y leading to infertility, a condition known as Klinefelter's syndrome, which is commonly not diagnosed until later in life.

A third, and also important category, relates to problems of the development and function of the sperm transport system. In some cases men are born with poorly developed vas deferens; in other genetic conditions these might be related to illnesses that cause destruction of this transport system such as cystic fibrosis.

Overall, genetics plays an enormous role in male infertility, and understanding this will allow men to seek appropriate treatment or intervention.

Genetics play a key role in male fertility. Abnormalities in the number of chromosomes as well as deletions of critical sections of the Y chromosome are all causes of genetic infertility.

Continue Learning about Male Infertility

How Noise Pollution Impacts Fertility
How Noise Pollution Impacts Fertility
In New York, a man’s average hearing age is more than 12 years older than his actual age; in Houston it’s almost 13 years older and in Los Angeles it’...
Read More
That Nightly Beer Could Lower Sperm Quality
That Nightly Beer Could Lower Sperm Quality
Guys, it’s time to reconsider cracking open a cold one after a long day of work. It turns out that even moderate alcohol consumption could lower sperm...
Read More
What is azoospermia?
Univ. of Nev. School of Medicine, Family MedicineUniv. of Nev. School of Medicine, Family Medicine
Azoospermia is the absence of live spermatozoa in the semen, or the body's failure to form live sper...
More Answers
What is sperm morphology?
Greenville Health SystemGreenville Health System
Morphology refers to the size and shape of the sperm and is an area that is commonly abnormal in inf...
More Answers

Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.