Male Fertility And Reproduction

Approximately 1 in 15 Irish males experience some form of infertility. Fortunately, the majority of causes are easily identified and treatable or prevented to aid in a couple’s ability to conceive.

What Affects Male Fertility?

The most frequent causes include sperm production issues, sperm mobility or shape issues, sperm antibodies, anomalies related to chromosomes and DNA, hormone issues, or problems with erectile function and ejaculation.

Age & Sperm Production

Daily sperm production starts after you reach puberty. Although it is possible for older men to produce offspring, there is a mounting body of evidence indicating that age can impact sperm production.

Research reveals that in the mid-40s, the quality and quantity of sperm decrease, resulting in a decline in sperm production.

Reasons for Loss of Sperm Count

A sperm count is deemed poor if it falls below 15 million sperm per millilitre (mL) of semen.

Experiencing trauma or surgery in or around the testicles, being overweight or obese, and using specific drugs are risk factors. You could also be in danger if you have any other medical conditions or expose your testicles to excessive heat.

Beyond that, there exists a multitude of reasons for low sperm quality, broadly classified into three categories: lifestyle, environmental, and medical.

Heavy drug and alcohol use, tobacco usage, and vaping are examples of behaviours that can also reduce sperm count.

Opioids and marijuana both lower sperm production.

Additional potential reasons include:

  • Hormone production can also be affected by testosterone boosters, vitamins, and pre-workout supplements targeted towards fitness enthusiasts.
  • Jobs involving prolonged sitting, like truck driving.
  • Emotional problems like depression and stress, especially if they are chronic.
  • Extreme body weight, especially if one is obese or overweight, can also negatively impact sperm production.

Your odds of having a low sperm count may be increased by hereditary diseases such as Klinefelter syndrome, as well as a history of testicular symptoms, injuries, or surgeries.

Chemotherapy, radiation therapy, and surgery are examples of cancer treatments that can impact sperm and hormone production.

Additional potential reasons include:

  • Varicocele, or swelling in the veins draining the testicles
  • Previous infections or STIs
  • Problems getting an erection or ejaculating 
  • Immune system disorders diseases such as cystic fibrosis or being a genetic carrier of cystic fibrosis
  • Antibiotics, antifungals, and medications for ulcers prior to surgery related to the male reproductive system, such as bladder surgery, testicular surgery, surgery for undescended testicles, inguinal hernia repair, and of course, a vasectomy

Sperm production can be decreased by your testicles being overheated.

Occupational exposure to pesticides, herbicides, solvents, and other industrial chemicals or heavy metals are potential environmental factors.

Additionally, radiation exposure from X-rays or other causes may impair sperm production.

Symptoms of Low Sperm Count

Until you try to conceive, you might not exhibit any symptoms or indicators of poor sperm quality. Infertility is the primary sign of oligospermia.

The symptoms of an underlying illness, such as a hormone imbalance, chromosomal abnormality, testicular problem, or obstruction, may accompany low sperm count; however, these symptoms are not the same as low sperm count symptoms. These signs could consist of:

  • reduced libido
  • erectile dysfunction
  • testicular pain or swelling
  • decreased facial or body hair

Get in touch with our team if you have any of these symptoms.

Understanding Male Fertility

Types of Infertility

Two types of infertility exist.

  • Primary infertility – the state in which you have never gotten pregnant and are having difficulty doing so.
  • Secondary infertility – the inability to conceive after one or more previous pregnancies, including miscarriages.

Do not hesitate to get in touch if you are worried about infertility.

The following are the most typical reasons for male infertility:

  • Azoospermia: the absence of sperm production.
  • Teratospermia: characterised by a significant percentage of improperly shaped sperm.
  • Absent or blocked vas deferens: The tube that carries sperm from the testes.
  • Genetic disorders: such as chromosomal abnormalities or cystic fibrosis.
  • Elevated fragmentation of sperm DNA that may impact sperm’s capacity to fertilise an egg.
  • Antibodies to sperm that may obstruct sperm motility and fertilisation.
  • Retrograde Ejaculation – when a person ejaculates, some or all of the semen may run backward into the bladder rather than out via the urethra.

The quality of the sperm itself cannot be improved by various therapies. Nonetheless, a variety of procedures are available to assist a couple in achieving a pregnancy while optimising the quality of their sperm. These procedures include:

  • Modifications in lifestyle.
  • Pharmacological therapies, such as Gonadotrophin, increase sperm counts.
  • Intrauterine insemination if the sperm abnormalities are not too severe.
  • For severe sperm abnormalities, in-vitro fertilisation with intracytoplasmic sperm injection (ICSI) is used. This method entails injecting one sperm into each egg to achieve fertilisation.
  • If there are no sperm in the ejaculate, testicular sperm aspiration (TESA) or micro-epididymal sperm aspiration (MESA) can be used to surgically remove sperm from the testes.

Contact one of our team or head over to our treatments section for more infortmation.

Understanding Infertility

Where To Start?

Begin with our comprehensive guide, providing insights on where to start and what to consider on your unique journey towards building a family.

fertility tests

Male Fertility Tests

Uncover the path to parenthood by exploring our male fertility tests page, providing valuable insights on reproductive health and family planning.

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Frequently Asked Question

Q1: How Do I Schedule an Initial Consultation?

A: To schedule an initial consultation, please contact our clinic directly via phone, email, or through our appointment request form. You may also ask your general practitioner or healthcare provider for a referral.

A: We offer a range of fertility services, including but not limited to IVF, IUI, egg freezing, and donor programs. Our experienced team will guide you through the available options based on your individual needs.

A: Infertility can result from various factors. If you’ve been actively trying to conceive for a year (or six months if you’re over 35) without success, or if you have known fertility issues, it’s advisable to seek consultation. Both partners should undergo initial assessments to determine the cause.

A: The process varies based on the chosen treatment, but generally involves an initial consultation, diagnostic testing, personalized treatment planning, and, if needed, assisted reproductive technologies such as IVF or IUI. Our team will guide you through each step.

A: Our team can discuss available financing options, and we recommend checking with your insurance provider to understand coverage details.

As of 2023, patients may avail of publicly funded IVF, IUI, or ICSI treatments through the HSE if they meet the eligibility criteria. 

A: Success rates can vary based on individual circumstances. During your consultation, we will provide you with personalized information based on your medical history and the specific treatment plan.

A: We welcome both couples and single individuals seeking fertility assistance. Our team provides support and guidance to individuals with diverse family-building goals.

A: Fertility treatments can be emotionally challenging, and the physical aspects vary. Our team is committed to providing compassionate care and support throughout your fertility journey.

A: Adopting a healthy lifestyle can positively impact fertility. Our team will provide guidance on factors such as nutrition, exercise, and stress management to optimize your chances of conception.

A: Patient confidentiality is a top priority. We adhere to strict privacy standards, and all information shared with our clinic is kept confidential.


We Offer High Success Rates!

With both frozen and fresh embryo transfer options available, we tailor our approach to suit each individual’s needs, maximising the chances of conception. Find our more about how our dedicated team of experts utilizes cutting-edge technology and personalised care to achieve outstanding results.


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