How Common Is Male Infertility?

Blog

18 October 2021

By Professor Rob McLachlan, Consultant Andrologist at Monash IVF

Most of us know - or have heard about - someone who has had trouble conceiving a baby. In fact, one in six Australian couples experience fertility challenges. But I bet most of you automatically associate infertility with women.

The truth is 30 per cent of fertility issues are due to what we call “male factor” infertility.

After a woman’s age, male factor infertility is the second most common reason a couple may have difficulty conceiving. It’s something that’s rarely spoken about as many male patients shy away from speaking opening about their experiences.

We hope to change this through the Monash IVF campaign, One in Six.

The campaign features some of our patients speaking candidly on camera about their fertility experiences. We filmed interviews with couples, same sex partners and single women. As a male infertility expert, I am heartened to also see men sharing their experiences in the campaign.

One of the men in the campaign, Shane, underwent a fertility health assessment when he and his wife Alicia were having trouble conceiving.

“No man wants to hear you have lazy sperm,” Shane says in the One in Sixvideo we filmed with him.

Shane and Alicia are now proud parents of a baby boy who was conceived through IVF using a scientific technique called ICSI, in which a single sperm is injected into the center of an egg to increase the chances of falling pregnant.

Shane’s advice to other men experiencing fertility struggles is to trust and let go of your fears.

“There are options, you just have to reach out and ask for help,” he says.

I couldn’t agree more and applaud Shane’s bravery.

Male infertility is more common than people realise. One in 20 men are infertile.

Problems can include blockages, low sperm count, erectile dysfunction or issues with hormones. The good news is that of these issues are treatable with expert help – allowing men to go on to have children.

There are also misconceptions about male infertility. Most of my patients live healthy lives. They eat well, exercise regularly, don’t smoke or rarely drink – but that doesn’t mean they won’t have trouble conceiving.

Through support and education, we can overcome the stigma and empower men to speak up and seek help.

A fertility health assessment will help identity issues and can be used to create a tailored treatment plan.

The fertility journey can be really isolating for my male patients, but there is help for those of you who need it.

If you're experiencing male infertility, you're not alone. Monash IVF are here to help. You can book an appointment with a Monash IVF clinician here.

About the author

Professor Rob McLachlan is a Consultant Andrologist at Monash IVF. Learn more about him here.

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