According to the NHS, around 1 in 7 couples may have difficulty conceiving but “84% of couples will conceive naturally within a year if they have regular unprotected sex (every two to three days).”
What is male infertility?
Male infertility happens largely because a man is not producing enough healthy sperm. On average, around 50-500 million sperm are ejaculated during orgasm, but only a few hundred make it as far as the egg and have any chance of conceiving a child. So, if the number of sperm is reduced, or if the sperm are defective, you’re reducing your chances of conceiving.
How do you increase sperm count and sperm health?
Low quality sperm, or sperm that is low in number can often be caused by lifestyle choices. For example, smokers and men who consume large amounts of alcohol will both be at risk of reduced quality sperm. The same is also true for people who use drugs such as marijuana and who take anabolic steroids.
To give yourself the best chance of having high quality sperm, choose a healthy lifestyle: ditch the cigarettes, drink moderately, and make sure you are exercising regularly and eating a healthy, balanced diet. All of these lifestyle choices will increase your chances of conceiving.
For more insight on reducing your risk of infertility problems, take a look at this article on our website.
When should you see a doctor?
If you and your partner are leading healthy lifestyles and are generally healthy but are still having difficulties, it would be a good idea to see your GP. For men, a GP would be able to carry out semen tests, blood tests and a genetic test to attempt to decipher the problem.
However, there are some men who should see a doctor even before they start to try to conceive. If you have had an STD, such as chlamydia or gonorrhoea, if you have had testicular cancer, have taken drugs to treat cancer, have diabetes or erectile dysfunction, if you have had a vasectomy reversed, or have had other illnesses or surgery related to the testicles, then you should see your GP for advice.
For more information about male infertility, this page on our website provides a lot of detail that may be useful.
As always, if you have any concerns about your fertility, go and see your GP.