The vast majority of couples will fall pregnant naturally within the first 12 months of trying however for approximately 1 in 6 couples they will experience difficulties trying to conceive. Research shows that of the couples struggling to fall pregnant, 40% will be due to problems with sperm function or male infertility.
The most common cause of male infertility is if not enough sperm are made; the sperm are not healthy (i.e. poor DNA quality); they do not form correctly or there are sperm antibodies. The major causes of male infertility can include low sperm production or absent sperm.
Many factors can lead to a man having a low sperm count. For a small minority there is a significant genetic issue causing poor sperm production such as breaks in chromosomes or parts of the male Y chromosome missing. For others there are hormonal causes, infections damaging the sperm outflow channels or problems with the testis such as testicular cancer or failure of the testis to descend into the scrotum early in life (cryptorchidism). Several medications can also negatively impact on sperm production and quality. However for the vast majority of men no major cause is found. In these cases ‘lifestyle issues’ such as obesity, stress, excessive consumption of alcohol, smoking or exposure to heat can all have an impact on a man’s fertility. Some times when these lifestyle factors are removed, a man will regenerate healthy sperm after approximately 3 months.
The most effective way to assess a man’s fertility is via a Semen Analysis. Our Andrology Labs are accredited by the National Association of Testing Authorities (NATA) and Reproductive Technology Accreditation Committee (RTAC) and we perform the Semen Analysis according to the World Health Organisation’s latest criteria which are considered to be the gold standard in performing a Semen Analysis.
There are supplements which are designed to support sperm health such as Menevit (https://www.elevit.com.au/product-range/menevit/) which contains a combination of antioxidants and minerals. Up to 70% of infertile men have damage to their sperm by chemicals called “free radicals”. Menevit is designed to neutralise these chemicals and protect the sperm from damage. Research studies conducted at Repromed by Professor Tremellen (Menevit trial and the ADAM study), have proven it reduces sperm DNA damage, supports sperm health, conception and IVF pregnancy rates. It is recommended that if a man is planning to conceive with his partner that he ideally starts taking it three months before actively trying to fall pregnant.