Help for male infertility

Happy couple with pregnancy news

You and your female partner have been trying to have a baby, but with no luck. You have both been tested by fertility specialists and results indicate that you need to see a urologist who specializes in male infertility.

Dane Johnson, MD, is a board-certified urologist at the Washington University Fertility and Reproductive Center. Dr. Johnson says, “The first step is to determine what may be causing your infertility problems.”

 There are several causes for male infertility:

  • Sperm concentration, shape or motility (movement) abnormalities can affect how well the sperm can reach and fertilize the egg.
  • Lifestyle factors, such as stress, smoking, drinking alcohol or taking certain drugs can be causes.
  • Age sometimes results in decreased testosterone.

The Center has a dedicated andrology lab to analyze the semen to determine the volume, concentration, motility and shape of sperm.

Dr. Johnson explains, “Once the cause is identified, there are medical and surgical treatments available to either reverse a problem, or to extract sperm by means other than ejaculation, depending on the issue.”


Intrauterine insemination (IUI) places a man’s sperm directly in the uterus using a thin tube, giving it a better chance of reaching and fertilizing an egg.

Intracytoplasmic sperm injection (ICSI) directly places sperm into eggs obtained from in vitro fertilization (IVF). This is an option when a man has an extremely low sperm count, no sperm in the ejaculate or a genetic disorder.

Sperm banking, or freezing of sperm for future use, is available in cases such as medical treatments that affect sperm count, planned vasectomy, high-risk occupations, advanced reproductive age and frequent travel while trying to conceive.

Some causes of infertility are structural and can be fixed by surgery, often with an outpatient procedure. This can include tissue biopsies, varicocele treatment, vasectomy reversal, opening the sperm ducts or extracting sperm from the ducts or testicles.

For more information, or to make an appointment with Dr. Johnson, please call 314-286-2400.

Washington University Fertility and Reproductive Medicine Center

4444 Forest Park Avenue, Suite 3100
St. Louis, MO 63108