One in every five couples need a sperm donor
One in every five infertile couples need a sperm donor, according to data from ProcreaTec, which shows that male infertility is on the rise. In 2012, 14% of couples who underwent fertility treatment in our clinic needed donated sperm. And just five years later (2017), that percentage increased to 19%.
Male factor is the cause in up to 35% of primary sterility cases and has a part to play in another 30% of mixed origin sterility cases (male and female partners).
Semen quality has halved in the last 40 years, according to a study published in Human Reproduction Update, which underlines how it affects above all Europeans, New Zealanders and Americans. This drop in sperm quality forced the World Health Organization (WHO) to establish new parameters for male fertility in 2010.
What affects sperm quality?
You should maintain a healthy and varied diet, including vitamins, minerals, antioxidants and omega 3 fatty acids. It’s also important to avoid junk food, as it provides no nutritional value to your body.
Exposure to atmospheric pollution affects the size and the morphology of sperm cells. And, as confirmed by several scientific studies, it also reduces sperm count.
The age of the man.
As a man gets older, the pregnancy rate decreases by 20%. Older age in men reduces pregnancy rates, increases the time is takes to conceive and the risk of miscarriage, as it increases damage to the sperm’s DNA and affects fertilization, implantation and embryonic development.
Excess weight and obesity.
Extra pounds affect fertility in both men and women, according to the results of several scientific studies.
Some studies suggest that men suffering from chronic infertility tend to have lived with stress for many years.
Tobacco, alcohol and drugs are bad habits which will harm your health and lead to infertility.
A sedentary lifestyle.
Spending too much time sitting down increases testicular temperature and therefore affects sperm production.
The male factor
A normal sperm count should show values within the parameters established by the WHO in its 2010 update, which have been reduced substantially since the previous review in 1999. All of the values are important, but sperm concentration per ml, motility and morphology are the most relevant.
In order to assess the male factor, a detailed medical history is carried out, including all relevant family and personal history such as surgery, childhood infections and diseases that require specific medication. Other factors such as nutrition, toxins and profession are also taken into account.
The most basic test to determine a man’s fertility is a sperm analysis. It assesses parameters such as volume and sperm pH; morphology, motility and sperm concentration. It is recommended that men abstain from ejaculating for three days. Although it should not be any longer than that as the sample could be disrupted. It is also recommended not to let more than one hour pass between sample collection and its delivery to the laboratory. You should also avoid variations in temperature (the ideal temperature is 37º, the human body temperature).
Depending on the results, more specific tests may be done, such as a REM sperm analysis; analysis of the man’s karyotype; fragmentation of the sperm’s DNA and the FISH analysis.