male infertility

A UK audit has revealed that the biggest cause of couples seeking fertility treatment is male infertility. In recent years, male infertility rates have increased, with poor sperm quality and mobility issues being the most common culprits.

It is estimated that 20% of men experience fertility issues in the UK, leading experts to suggest more research needs to be done to get to the root of the problem. Here, we’ll look at male infertility and the help available for couples experiencing male-related fertility issues.

What is male infertility?

There are a lot of different male infertility causes. The most common include poor sperm production, poor quality sperm, ejaculation issues and testicular damage. Each of these problems could be caused by numerous factors, including poor lifestyle choices.

Poor sperm quantity and quality can both have a significant impact on fertility. A full sperm analysis can determine the cause and ultimately the best solution moving forward.

What did the audit reveal?  

The report, carried out by The Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority (HFEA), revealed male infertility is the most common reason couples seek treatment. Around 37% of couples seeking treatment experience male infertility.

It wasn’t just male infertility rates that the audit revealed. It also showed that age is the most important factor to determine fertility treatment success rates. It also revealed sperm and donor egg treatments are becoming more popular. Exact figures showed a year-on-year increase of 6% for donor sperm and egg treatments.

It also revealed that although same-sex and single patients seeking treatment are on the rise, the majority of those seeking IVF treatment are heterosexual couples.

IVF is strongest it’s ever been

The most promising data revealed by the audit, is that IVF treatment is currently the strongest it’s ever been. It’s been 40 years since the very first child was born via IVF, and figures show in 2016 the number of births recorded after 68,000 IVF treatments, was 20,000. This is a very positive statistic, highlighting just how far IVF success rates have come over the years.

The number of multiple births from IVA has decreased, making the treatment much safer than it once was. While finding out you’re expecting multiple babies through IVF can be wonderful news, unfortunately, they do come with much higher risks and complication rates.

The chair of the HFEA, Sally Cheshire CBE, says although she is delighted to see from the results that more couples are able to access fertility treatment than ever before, we also need to focus on unsuccessful births. If you consider the statistics from 2016 where there were 20,000 live births out of 68,000 treatments, you see there’s still a lot of couples who experience the heartache of unsuccessful pregnancies and births through IVF. Cheshire claims more support is needed for these couples moving forward.

Understanding the reasons behind your fertility issues is key to seeking successful treatment. Therefore, it is advisable to book a consultation with a fertility specialist to determine the best course of treatment suitable for you and/or your partner.