Leading Surgeons Tet Yap and his internationally renowned partner Professor Suks Minhas have recently published an extensive survey*, The Fertility Index, to show how men and women across the UK understand and manage fertility and sexual health issues.
The index highlights the fertility landscape in the UK and covers topics including Male Fertility still being a Taboo, Erectile Dysfunction, Sperm and Egg Freezing, Rising Fertility Issues in Men, Male Contraceptives, Fertility Problems and how our lifestyle is impacting our Fertility.
Male Fertility is still hugely misunderstood and seen as more of a taboo subject than female fertility even in the modern world we live in. Both men and women feel much more comfortable speaking about female fertility issues.
The index has highlighted that more than twice as many women (7%) than men (3%) have sought advice from a medical professional about fertility and sexual health issues.
The data also showed that over a third (34%) of those surveyed still think male fertility is more of a taboo subject than female fertility and is widely misunderstood with only 19% believing that male fertility is as much of an issue as female fertility when trying to conceive.
According to a global study, sperm counts are not only dropping but the rate of this decline is increasing with data showing a drop of 1.2% per year from 1973 – 2000 but from 2000 to 2018, the decline was 2.6% per year
Fertility issues have risen hugely over the last two generations with 16% of those under 34s being impacted by fertility issues when they have tried to conceive compared to just 6% of those over 55s.
The survey also showed how many couples have had fertility issues with 1 in 10 couples (10%) admitting to having difficulties when trying to conceive with more men (11%) than women (9%) experiencing problems.
Unhealthy vices are impacting men’s performances with 20% of all men confirming alcohol had caused performance issues, 7% saying smoking caused problems and 1 in 20 (5%) admitting that their drug habits have had a direct impact on their sexual relationships.
The index has highlighted that millions of men’s sexual performances are being impacted by stress and mental health issues with 12% of men stating that work-related stress has directly caused erection problems and a further 9% saying that other mental health issues have affected their ability to stay erect.
More than 1 in 10 (13%) of men have admitted that being overweight has directly impacted their ability to stay erect. Alcohol 20%, Smoking 7% and drug habits 5% were also among the list of reasons stated by men in the UK that had impacted sexual performances with their partners.
The average age to have a child in the UK is now 31 but many couples are waiting until their late 30s or even early 40s to try for children. Freezing healthy sperm when young can extend the period that couples can conceive and can also help with fertility issues which are more likely to increase with age.
1 in 10 women have admitted they are considering asking their partner to freeze their sperm as an insurance policy for when they are trying to conceive in the future.
The index has highlighted that more than 1 in 4 (26%) of those under 35 are considering freezing sperm or eggs while young to help with conceiving later in life as millions delay having children young.
It isn’t just people in couples who are considering freezing their eggs or sperm 11% of single people are considering the procedure.
As a Male Contraceptive pill becomes closer to reality, the index has shown that nearly 1 in 3 Women (29%) wouldn’t trust their partner to take the male contraceptive pill as their main form of contraception as this solution moves closer to becoming a reality in the near future.
More surprisingly 1 in 4 men wouldn’t trust themselves to take the on-demand pill that would temporarily stop sperm moving if taken before sexual intercourse.
The survey also showed a huge lack of trust in under 35s with a staggering 53% admitting they wouldn’t trust themselves or their partner to take the pill as the main form of contraception which may impact how popular this new solution will be if and when it becomes available to the public.
*Research was carried out online by Research Without Barriers – RWB between Sept 2022 and April 2023. The sample comprised 1,003 UK adults