Top 5 myths about Male Fertility
by Profess Suks Minhas and Leading Surgeon Tet Yap of Men’s Health Clinic – London Andrology
Leading Surgeons Tet Yap and his internationally renowned partner Professor Suks Minhas support men with conditions associated with male fertility and sexual function.
The leading minds have also 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 survey highlighted how many adults in the UK still believe there is a stigma around male fertility and also misunderstand how important it is when trying to conceive. Only 19% of UK adults believe male fertility is half the problem when trying to conceive and over a third (34%) admit there is more of a stigma about male fertility than female fertility.
The leading minds have pulled together the top 5 myths around Male Fertility to help the UK understand how and why it is just as significant as female fertility and shouldn’t be ignored when trying to conceive.
Top 5 Myths about Male Fertility
Fertility problems are usually down to the female partner
Historically when it comes to fertility the focus has always been on women. People talk about freezing eggs, IVF, the female biological clock ticking, and the pressure on women to have children by a certain age. It seems ludicrous that this has always been the focus, especially as global trends show sperm counts and concentration are not only down all over the world, but the decline is accelerating. Counts dropped by 1.2% per year from 1973 – 2000 but from 2000 to 2018, the decline was 2.6% per year.
As this trend increases, so are expected male fertility issues, with millions more likely to have problems trying to conceive than previous generations, therefore the focus that should have been 50-50 anyway needs to shift quickly towards both male and female fertility.
If I have a normal sperm count I am fertile
Male factor infertility can happen for various reasons, including structural issues of the testes, hormone imbalances, or sperm quality. In many cases, the issue is directly related to the health of the sperm.
The health of sperm can be broken down into three categories; sperm concentration, sperm motility (the ability of sperm to swim), and sperm morphology (the shape of the sperm). Sperm count, therefore, can be an indication of fertility but it isn’t the whole story, it is quality as well as quantity that needs to be considered and all three factors, sperm concentration, motility and morphology can impact fertility rates not just count alone.
I can’t have children if I do not have sperm in the ejaculate
1% of men don’t actually produce any sperm in their ejaculate which can be down to a blockage or an issue with sperm production. If it is a blockage about 50% of the time this can be corrected or there is a fairly simple procedure to harvest sperm from the testicles using a needle.
When the issue is due to sperm production this can be more complex and at London Andrology we have developed a cutting-edge procedure called Micro-TESE. This involves an operation under general anaesthetic performed through a small incision in the scrotum, through which both testicles can be seen. The surgeon examines each testicle under a high-power operating microscope looking for seminiferous tubules (where sperm is produced and transported) and searches for swollen tubules which are more likely to contain sperm and tries to harvest sperm from here.
I had a vasectomy so I cannot have more children
Having a vasectomy allows men to continue to have an active sex life without concerns about having any more children but if a person’s circumstances change and they decide they would like more children there are still options.
Often a vasectomy can be reversed with a fairly simple operation but this isn’t always possible due to multiple factors such as the length of time since the procedure and age. The other option is sperm aspirated prior to an IVF cycle where sperm is removed from the testicles using a needle. This is a fairly simple procedure and is usually performed under local anaesthetic.
Nothing can boost my sperm count
Fertility health is often aligned with an individual’s health, and our diet, habits and lifestyle can hugely impact our sperm count. Reducing the amount of alcohol consumed, quitting smoking, exercising and a healthy diet can all increase sperm count and improve fertility.
Being overweight is a big factor in male fertility problems; many individuals have improved their sperm counts and motility by losing weight. Diet is also a very important factor which is often aligned with weight issues. Having a balanced diet can have a huge impact on fertility health. Another factor that can impact sperm is being too sedentary which is more common now, especially with many people working from home. Exercising regularly helps but excessive exercise can actually be detrimental, especially cycling which has been shown to overheat testicles which can have an impact. Exercising for an hour a few times a week will certainly help.
The leading minds in their field have worked together for over 15 years, developing the most advanced treatments for sexual and reproductive needs. With their extensive clinical and research experience, the team have developed rigorous and patient-centred approaches to treating men’s health conditions and the new clinic is expected to lead the way in treating men’s health conditions – from fertility issues to sexual health issues like erectile dysfunction.
The team at the clinic are keen to raise awareness of male fertility and sexual health issues, get the UK talking about the subject, and change the misconceptions and imbalance between perceived issues around male and female fertility when trying to conceive.
Surgeon Tet Yap, Co-founder of the clinic, commented on the launch, “ Unfortunately, men’s fertility and sexual health issues are still taboo subjects for far too many of us. We launched the clinic to change this perception and offer a safe place for men, their partners, and loved ones to discuss their concerns openly, knowing they will be getting the best service and support.”
Contact us today to arrange a consultation about male fertility.