Male Fertility

Infertility (also known as “Subfertility”)is estimated to affect around 1 in 7 couples in the UK, with about 30% of cases being sue to male infertility.

Our doctors can help with male fertility issues – book an online GP appointment today.

Alternatively you can refer yourself to a specialist Doctor without seeing a GP first.

Couple discussing fertility problems with the doctor

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What is male fertility?

Male fertility is the ability to father a child naturally through unprotected sexual intercourse. It is dependent on 2 things, the production of healthy sperm and the ability to deliver sperm into a female’s body through erection and ejaculation. 

Infertility occurs when there is a problem either with the quantity or quality of sperm produced, or a mechanical issue that prevents the sperm from reaching the female, such as a blockage in the tubes that transport sperm.

What is good for male fertility?

If you and your partner are trying to conceive, there are a few lifestyle changes you can make to give you the best chance. These include: 

  • Having regular sex. Regular, unprotected sex with your partner (2 to 3 times a week) is recommended if you are trying to conceive. 
  • Maintaining a healthy weight. Being overweight or obese can significantly lower your sperm count (the number of sperm you produce) making it more difficult to conceive. If you are overweight, speak to your GP or dietician about losing weight with a healthy diet and exercise plan. 
  • Getting enough sleep. One study found that the number, quality, and survival of sperm was reduced in men who sleep too little, too much, or went to bed late. An average adult needs 7 to 8 hours of sleep a night, so make sure you are getting enough. 
  • Not smoking. Smoking has been shown to reduce the number and quality of your sperm, so it’s time to give up if you are trying to start a family. Smoking is also harmful to your baby and increases the risk of sudden infant death syndrome (cot death) and respiratory illnesses like asthma. 
  • Reducing stress. Stress may lower testosterone levels and reduce sperm production.  It can also affect your libido (sex drive) and cause problems in your relationship, which may mean you have sex less often. 
  • Keeping sperm at the right temperature. For healthy sperm, the testicles need to be at a slightly cooler temperature than the rest of the body (this is why your testicles are in a sack outside your body). You can help to keep your sperm at the right temperature by wearing loose-fitting underwear and trousers/jeans, not sitting for long periods, and avoiding saunas and hot tubs. 
  • Limiting alcohol consumption. Drinking too much alcohol can reduce the quality of your sperm, so stick to the government guidelines of no more than 14 units a week over a period of at least 3 days. 

How infertility is diagnosed in men

Diagnosing male infertility first requires a consultation with a doctor. Your doctor will ask you some questions about how long you have been trying to conceive, your past medical history, lifestyle factors such as smoking and alcohol use, and any medications you are taking. Your doctor may also examine your penis and testicles to check for any physical abnormalities. The first test for infertility is usually a sperm count (semen analysis). This is where a sample of your semen is checked to see how many sperm you produce, how well they move, and what shape they are. Other tests for male infertility include:

  • Blood tests to check for any underlying health issues and to measure your hormone levels
  • Transrectal ultrasound uses ultrasound waves to examine internal structures like the tube that carries sperm out of the testicles (vans deferens) and the glands that produce semen (seminal vesicles). The ultrasound is performed using a probe inserted into the rectum (back passage).

When to see a doctor

It is normally recommended that you see a doctor if you have been trying to conceive for 12 months without success. This could be sooner if you have other symptoms such as erectile dysfunction, problems ejaculating, or are taking medication that could affect your fertility. 

If you are diagnosed with male infertility there are several treatment options available, depending on the cause, including: 

  • Medications such as viagra, hormone treatments or antibiotics 
  • Surgery to correct any structural defects 
  • Fertility treatments like in vitro fertilisation (IVF) 

The right treatment will depend on the cause of your infertility. Your GP or specialist will recommend the best treatment option for you. 

Find out more about getting an online GP appointment to discuss male infertility

How to get a fertility test for male infertility

Home tests are also available that measure your sperm count and can help to identify any problems with your fertility. This at-home male fertility test kit is now available from Medicspot. 

Online GP appointments for male infertility

An online GP appointment is a great place to start if you are worried about infertility. The doctor will ask you about your general health, medical history, and any medications you are taking. They will also ask you some questions about your lifestyle, including whether you drink or smoke, your weight, and how long you have been trying to conceive. If necessary, they may recommend further investigations. 

Making an online GP appointment is quick and easy with Medicspot. Simply book an appointment at a time that suits you and have your video consultation from your phone wherever you are (try to find a quiet place with a strong internet connection for your consultation). All our doctors are NHS trained and based in the UK. Appointments cost £49 and are available from 9 am to 9 pm Monday to Friday

Home tests for male fertility