Male infertility

Male Reproductive Issues

While millions of sperm are produced every day in the testes, its development is complex. Medications, hormone imbalances, and environmental factors can all affect production, maturation and quality of sperm.

Although approximately 40 million sperm are released at ejaculation, sperm are very small and most of the semen consists of fluid that provides nutrients and enzymes to nourish the sperm.

Just as the journey of the egg can be held up, the transportation of sperm can sometimes be a root cause for infertility.

The epididymis is responsible for the sperm’s maturation, storage and transport. Sperm gain motility and an ability to fertilise an egg, once they pass through the epididymis.

This process takes about 4 days before reaching the ejaculatory ducts.

Common problems with sperm production
  • Azoospermia – no sperm produced and/or found in the ejaculate.
  • Oligoozspermia – low sperm count
  • Teratospermia, where a high proportion of sperm is abnormally shaped
  • Malformed sperm – in rare cases, genetic diseases may be at fault.
  • Immunological infertility – when you develop antibodies against your own sperm.
  • Blockages in the vas deferens – due to injury or vasectomy
  • Poor-quality sperm – for a wide range of reasons, such as an unhealthy lifestyle
Other factors that can affect sperm quality or quantity
  • Smoking
  • Excessive drinking
  • Drugs, including steroids and recreational use
  • Weight and Body Mass Index (BMI)
  • Frequent exposure to extreme heat (working in hot temperatures, or regular saunas)
  • Working in cramped conditions (for example, truck drivers)
  • Acute viral illness
  • Operations for undescended testes or hernias

When to seek help?

If you suspect that you have one of these conditions, or if you have been trying to conceive for more than 12 months (or 6 months if you are over the age of 35), then consider booking an appointment with one of our specialists.