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Andrology & Male Infertility

Infertility is the inability to produce a pregnancy or failure to do so within a reasonable period of trying, usually 6 to 12 months.

Of couples planning a pregnancy up to 50% conceive in the first cycle and in the remainder, the percentage who conceive in each successive month declines as the proportion of subfertile couples left continuing to try increases. Approximately 85% conceive a first pregnancy by 6 to 12 months. The 6- to 12-month period used to define infertility means that it afflicts approximately 15% of couples. Infertility is thus common and the male contribution is substantial. Infertility results from female disorders (anovulation, tubal obstruction, or other pathology) in approximately 30%, a male disorder – abnormal sperm in 30%, and disorders in both partners in 30%. No abnormalities are found in approximately 10%. Thus, the male partner may have a disorder which contributes to the infertility in up to 50% of these couples. Thus medical investigation of infertility should involve both partners.

People have many different emotional reactions when their fertility is questioned. To read more about Emotional Reactions to Infertility  click here

What are the basic requirements for achieving a natural pregnancy?

  • production of sufficient numbers of normal sperm – normal in both structure (shape or morphology) and ability to swim (motility)
  • transport of the sperm through the male genital tract and deposition in the female genital tract, usually near the cervix of the uterus during sexual intercourse
  • normal oocyte (egg) production (ovulation) by the ovaries
  • transport of sperm and the oocyte within the female genital tract to the site of fertilisation in a fallopian tube.
  • penetration of sperm into the oocyte, fertilisation and development of a pre-embryo
  • transport of the pre-embryo to the uterus and implantation.