For a long time, when couples had difficulties conceiving the attention would be drawn to the woman, but fertility problems can equally come from the man. Figures vary, but it's estimated that around 35% of fertility problems in relationships are due to a problem on the man's side and 35% on the woman's side (in some cases, no cause can be found).
When to take action
Right from the beginning! When you visit your doctor for a pre-conception check-up, take your partner along. It's important for him to answer questions on his own medical history so that your doctor has both your complete medical histories.
Your doctor may refer you to a specialist or fertility clinic so your man can have a semen test to analyse his semen and check the quality, mobility and structure of his sperm. A testosterone test may also be performed.
If there's a problem with your partner's sperm (poor sperm count, abnormal sperm or sperm that cannot swim), there are procedures which can help. In Vitro Fertlisation (IVF) involves retrieving one of your eggs, fertilising it with your partner's sperm and then implanting the embryos in your uterus. Intra-Cytoplasmic Sperm Injection (ICSI) is a techniique sometimes used with IVF where sperm is injected directly into an egg in order to fertilise it. This is used if his sperm is unable to penetrate the egg.