Azoospermia and Infertility

Read on to learn about the causes and treatments for azoospermia, or when there is no sperm in your ejaculate.

Azoospermia, the medical term used when there is no sperm in your ejaculate, is seen in 10%-15% of all men with infertility.

Different types of azoospermia include:

  • Obstructive: A blockage keep sperm from getting into the ejaculate
  • Non-obstructive: Not enough sperm is produced.

The specific causes of azoospermia range from genetic conditions to medical treatments to recreational drug use. For example, the anabolic steroid use in bodybuilders has been associated with azoospermia and infertility. Another common cause is a vasectomy, a surgical procedure that prevents sperm from even entering the urethra.

Some men may not know that there is no sperm in their ejaculate because sperm are microscopic and can’t be seen. People are often surprised to find out that they are "shooting blanks." Many people are unaware of their fertility status until they are actively trying to conceive.

Diagnosing azoospermia usually requires multiple tests, first to identify that you have azoospermia, and then to find the cause so it can be treated accordingly.

A semen analysis can help to identify the presence or absence of sperm. Some people may be proactive with their fertility and get their fertility tested prior to trying to actively conceive. In the event azoospermia or other fertility issues are identified, they can be directed to a course of care by their healthcare provider, so when they are ready to have children, they can better understand their options.