Many women feel responsible for a couple’s inability to become pregnant when in reality, 30 percent of the time it’s solely the man’s issue and close-to 50 percent of the time, male factor is contributing to the couple’s fertility issues. For this reason it’s crucial that the man be involved in the process from the very beginning. The first step in diagnosing male factor infertility is semen analysis (sperm check). This simple test can quickly shed some light on whether or not the man is a contributor to the couple’s infertility. Low and very low sperm counts are relatively common, and should definitely be investigated. Even subtle changes in the way sperm functions can have an impact on fertility. The cause of sperm abnormalities can include:

  • Lifestyle issues (smoking, alcohol, recreational drugs, stress)
  • Environmental exposures
  • Certain medications
  • Past illnesses (ex. mumps)
  • Past surgeries (ex. Vasectomy or complications from a hernia repair)
  • Genetic predisposition

A semen analysis is key to determining what further steps are necessary to developing a treatment plan for the couple. It can also significantly speed up a diagnosis. With today’s advances in infertility treatment, even men with extremely low sperm counts have treatment options available. For this reason, couples should be assessed by a fertility centre that deals with both male and female fertility issues.