Medical Q&As

Mumps - male infertility?

What are the chances of a man who had mumps as a child being sterile?

Mumps is a viral infection that principally affects the parotid glands. However, it can also affect the testicles, giving rise to a condition called orchitis, which means inflammation of the testicle. If orchitis occurs before puberty fertility is usually unaffected. In the case of post-pubertal males it is estimated that 30% of males who develop mumps also develop orchitis during the course of the illness. In a third of these cases both testicles are affected. Orchitis can result in atrophy of the testicles, which in turn can impair sperm production. However complete sterility is rare in post-pubertal males that develop orchitis. It is important to emphasise that both testicles have to be affected by orchitis and mumps without orchitis carries no threat to fertility. In summary the chances of a man being sterile as a result of childhood mumps is low.