It has been argued that about 4-5% of male adults suffer from infertility due to a genetic causation. From studies in the fruitfly Drosophila, there is evidence that up to 1500 recessive genes contribute to male fertility in that species. Here we suggest that the control of human male fertility is of at least comparable genetic complexity. However, because of small family size, conventional positional cloning methods for identifying human genes will have little impact on the dissection of male infertility. A critical selection of well-defined infertility phenotypes in model organisms, combined with identification of the genes involved and their orthologues in man, might reveal the genes that contribute to human male infertility.