Male Infertility – How common is it?

April 13, 2017

by Dr. Rob Downer, Clinical Embryologist

In general, women are aware of their reproductive health from a very early age and will discuss menstruation, contraception and gynaecological health with their family, friends or their healthcare professional as a matter of course. When it comes to the guys… let’s just say that reproductive health probably isn’t high in the list of topics we discuss with our friends!

The same generally holds true when it comes to infertility and we find that the majority of the time fertility investigations and testing are initiated by the female partner.

But why is this the case?

When it comes to infertility there is still the belief that it is mostly a female problem. But this is simply not true.  With guys there’s almost an assumption that because they’re ejaculating liquid that everything must be alright, but it’s not the presence or absence of seminal fluid that matters, it’s the quality and quality of the little sperm cells in the fluid that determine fertility.

Recent studies have examined the incidence of male infertility around the globe and it concluded that 15% of couples, amounting to 48.5 million couples, are affected by infertility and in 50% of cases the male partner has a fertility problem. When it comes to male infertility, the major causes are low sperm count and poor sperm quality.

What’s the bottom line?

When it comes to infertility it’s important that both the male and female are tested at the start of the investigation process. This will provide the doctor with the whole picture so that the right course of action can be taken first time. Semen analysis is a simple and accessible test that assesses the quality and quantity of the sperm cells in the semen and usually costs between €100 and €200.

So if you are a guy who is experiencing infertility with your partner, perhaps you should take the lead and tell her that you’re going to get a semen analysis test sooner rather than later.

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