Are Men Less Fertile Than Women Today?

Author: Dr. Helena Lim Yun Hsuen Fertility - Obstetrician & Gynaecologist

Up to 85% of couples with normal fertility will conceive spontaneously within a (1) year of unprotected sexual intercourse. For those in the other 15%, you could be suffering from infertility problems as it is estimated that one in every seven couples are at risk of experiencing infertility problems. 

While infertility is definitely troubling, most of the time, its burden isn’t equally shared. When a couple struggles to have children of their own, society tends to pin the blame on the female partner. While it is true that certain gynaecological conditions (such as endometriosis) do affect their ability to conceive and sustain a pregnancy but just like tango, it takes two to get pregnant. Continue reading this article to find out more on the state of male fertility and how it affects a couple’s chance of conceiving.

Male fertility is on a decline

According to Dr Helena Lim, Fertility Specialist and Consultant Obstetric & Gynaecologist at KL Fertility Centre, men’s fertility problems have been on the rise in the past 5 to 10 years. As a matter of fact, around 40 to 50% of all infertility cases are due to men’s fertility problems. There are various conditions and factors that influence a man’s fertility. They include:

  • Sperm production problems
  • Sperm motility problems
  • Issues related to sexual intercourse
  • Hormonal disorders


Besides the above factors, there is also another condition which affects male fertility that is not spoken enough about – azoospermia. This refers to the absence of any sperm cells in the semen. It can be due to sperm production problems as well as obstruction to the testicular tract.

If you are worried about being afflicted by the aforementioned problems, you can always go through a fertility screening. For men, this includes physical examination as well as an assessment of certain hormones such as testosterone, follicle-stimulating hormone (FSH) and luteinizing hormone (LH).

Aside from the previously mentioned factors, lifestyle factors are thought to also play an important role in influencing male fertility. Certain lifestyle factors such as diet, occupation, body weight, physical activity as well substance abuse can impact a man’s fertility.

So, what can you do?

Dr Helena urges men not to delay seeking help from a fertility specialist. She recommends couples to undergo fertility screening early, especially if they are 35 years old and above. Fertility is a responsibility shared by both partners. It is therefore vital for each partner to take the initiative to eliminate factors that are negatively influencing their fertility.

Change your lifestyle now!

Unsurprisingly, certain lifestyle factors that influence male fertility are pretty obvious. To start with, those who are addicted to smoking cigarettes should seek immediate help. Cigarettes are a notorious risk factor for all sorts of health problems including infertility. You should cut down your alcohol intake as well. Not limited to fertility, both cigarettes and alcohol contribute to an increased risk of multiple diseases. 

Besides managing addiction, a healthy diet is also important. Ensure that you practice a balanced daily diet with the right amount of nutrition. A good and healthy diet can also make you feel a lot better throughout the day. This is important as stress can also impair a man’s fertility.

To understand your fertility problems better, do consult a fertility expert to receive personalised and precise consultation. Should you require help with your infertility problems, other medical interventions include ovulation induction, Intra-Uterine Insemination (IUI), Intracytoplasmic Sperm Injection (ICSI) or In-Vitro Fertilisation (IVF).

When it comes to infertility, time is of the essence. As we age, our fertility deteriorates and the likelihood of conceiving becomes more bleak. It is therefore vital that you seek help as early as possible to swiftly rectify any problems and keep the treatment success rate high.

Hello Health Group does not give medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. 

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Review Date: November 12, 2019 | Last Modified: December 5, 2019

Dr. Helena Lim Yun Hsuen Fertility - Obstetrician & Gynaecologist

Dr Helena Lim Yun Hsuen qualified as a doctor from Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia in 1999. She obtained her specialist degree in the UK in 2006 and completed her master degree in Obstetrics & Gynaecology in the same year. She has been a Consultant in Obstetrics & Gynaecology with special interest in Fertility since then. In 2018, Dr Helena Lim received her Fellowship award from the Royal College of Obstetricians & Gynaecologists, UK (FRCOG). Dr Helena is especially interested in the impact of nutrition, stress and psychology on fertility. 

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