What is Male Factor Infertility?
The World Health Organisation (WHO) standard for healthy sperm is as follows:
- Volume >1.5 ml
- Sperm count >15 million / ml
- Motility (progressive) >32%
- Motility (total) >40%
- Morphology >4%
Male factor infertility will be present in 30-50% of couples, either as the single major cause of their fertility problem or as part of multi-factorial problem with both male and female factors being present. The number of myths surrounding male potency and fertility are reducing as we develop an increased understanding of some of the causes. It is important to note there is no good evidence of a world-wide decline in fertility rates, although there have been some reports from individual countries suggesting a decline in sperm quantity, possibly due to environmental causes.
Low sperm morphology (fewer than 5% of the sperm appear normal when assessed microscopically) can lead to failure of fertilisation with IUI or IVF. It can occur even with normal sperm numbers and motility. It is an important part of detailed semen analysis but is not always done at some pathology laboratories.