Male fertility: tests available
The latest statistics suggest that about a third of couples having difficulty conceiving will be diagnosed as 'male-factor infertility'. In another third of cases there will be problems 'on both sides', so it's vitally important that couples have their fertility investigated together.
Declining Male Fertility
Male fertility is declining in the Western world quite rapidly while testicular cancer in adult males and genital deformities in baby boys are on the rise. This all points to environmental causes, and chemical pollutants that mimic the action of female hormones (like oestrogen), have been blamed.
Modern male lifestyles are bad for sperm production
The testicles were designed to hang free and cool and anything that raises them up to body temperature (hot baths, saunas, tight jeans, cycling, long periods of driving) 'cooks' the testes and reduces fertility.
Smoking damages the ability of the sperm to find the egg and may even damage the sperm DNA. Although many babies get made because of alcohol and not despite it, binge drinking is bad for sperm as alcohol is quite toxic. Unlike women, who are born with every egg they are ever going to have, most men go on making sperm into their eighties. . .but the quality and quantity deteriorates.
Routine sperm tests investigate:
The concentration of sperm ('the count')
Their swimming ability ('the progressive motility')
The shape and structure of the sperm ('the percentage normal morphology').
The scientists also look for evidence of 'clumping' (which could suggest anti-sperm antibodies) and for 'white cells', which suggest that an infection may be present. An average sperm count should be more than 20 million sperm per millilitre of ejaculate and about 50% of the sperm should be active.