Man First

At fertility solutions it is our experience that when a couple is trying to conceive, or thinking about having a baby in the future, it makes much more sense to start with the MAN FIRST.

Getting a semen analysis done with us is straight forward. It will give you a lot of information about a man’s fertility potential all in one test. To gain the same level of fertility information for a woman involves multiple and invasive tests. 

Men are equally important for a successful conception. 50% of infertility is caused by the man. A semen analysis gives you so much information and if found to be abnormal, sperm can be changed and improved. This is because sperm are continuously produced and replenished.

While no fertility test can tell you conclusively if you are fertile. Nor whether you definitely will be able to father a child. A semen analysis can tell you conclusively if you can not, as some men have no sperm in their ejaculate. 

Fertility changes with age

It is important to test the man first. A delay in this testing can make the situation much worse if you are trying to conceive. This is because any fertility issues magnify as the female partner gets older. We see numerous couples that have been trying to conceive for a number of years. When the man is eventually tested and found to have a low sperm count, the women has aged. This is nothing short of a tragedy as a women’s fertility at 35 is half that compared to when she was 25.

We also see many couples that have had numerous cycles of IVF that have failed only to find out much later that the man’s sperm is the issue. Getting a semen analysis is essential for all those couples trying to, or thinking about, trying to get pregnant.

Claire Mooney
Consultant Embryologist 

Male fertility test, do I really need one?

Can’t we just have IVF? 

You should have a male fertility test if you have been trying to conceive for longer than 6 continuous months. A lot of my patients are confused about the length of time they have been trying to conceive. If you are having intercourse and not using contraception you are effectively trying to conceive.

What is a male fertility test?

A comprehensive semen analysis test is a simple, fast, non invasive male fertility test. When done with an understanding of your own circumstances, it will give you a wealth of information about the male partners fertility potential, especially when combined with a DNA fragmentation test. Half of all individuals that are struggling to conceive are found to have abnormal sperm.  IVF is not the universal treatment for male infertility, it was not developed to solve male fertility issues. It was developed 40 years ago as a treatment for women with blocked fallopian tubes. IVF allows the women’s egg and the man’s sperm to meet and for this cause of infertility IVF remains relatively successful. 

But IVF has no ability to improve your gametes (that is your egg) or sperm quality. IVF will not turn back time and it can not change the quality of the embryos that your sperm will create. Only 25% of male factor infertility patients will be successful with IVF. 

Improving male fertility

It really is up to the individual to improve the quality of their sperm. This should always be done in conjunction with proper investigation. Sperm are very sensitive to their environment. Sperm are continuously produced, for this reason sperm quality can be improved. This is certainly our experience. 

You can take back control and change your sperm and therefore your fertility outcome. IVF is expensive both emotionally and financially and not without risks to the women’s health. It has always surprised me that one partner is so willing to risk their health because the other partner has a low sperm count, especially when low sperm counts can be improved.

 Sometimes changes to your lifestyle are what is needed such as giving up smoking and alcohol, getting regular exercise and eating a diet rich in fruit and vegetables. However, in all cases the cause for your infertility must be investigated first. You can book a male fertility test with us. Only when the problem is diagnosed can effective treatment be offered. Sperm are generally 3 months in production so diagnosis today can literally change your fertility potential in a matter of months. 

Should primary microsurgical ligation of varicocele be the gold standard approach?


Introduction: Varicocele is a common condition affecting over one in 10 men, and in cases with abnormal semen parameters, varicocele is present in about one in four men. Several methods have been used to treat this condition, of which microsurgical treatment has the lowest failure and complication rates. We present a single-centre UK series of microsurgical repair of varicocele.

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Five Live London discuss parenthood in later life.

Listen to Miss Mooney on Five Live discussing parenthood in later life. Men have a biological clock too.

Yesterday, Five Live London were discussing parenthood in later life. With new recent statistics revealing that more women than ever are becoming parents, over the age of 40, than ever before.

There were a large number of callers the Five Live show. Most were women discussing the pros and cons of later life parenting. I called the show to make the point that alongside women in their 40s having children, were the largely forgotten husbands and male partners, also in their 40s. I discussed with the shows presenter the fact that it is largely unknown that men also have a biological clock. The older fathers generally have sperm with more DNA damage than that of younger men. This results in an increase in infertility, increasing the time to conception, whilst also increasing the chances of miscarriage. 

I think this further highlights the need for older fathers to undergo quality assessments of their sperm. Not just semen analysis, which is only an assessment of quantity. DNA fragmentation testing allows men to understand the true quality of their sperm. With this knowledge better clinical pathways can be discussed with patients to give a greater chance of pregnancy and a healthy baby. 

Claire Mooney
Senior Embryologist 

Listen again on Five Live

Are all sperm tests equal?

Semen analysis has long been the accepted routine test for assessing male fertility. However, in the wrong hands sperm tests have serious limitations. A semen analysis can offer a wealth of information about your fertility with sperm numbers, how your sperm swim and sperm shape. The latter being all important when assessing your fertility and the likelihood of conception.

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Meet the team: Erica

photo of Erica Foster

Erica Foster

Erica leads our sperm testing service in London at the Whittington Hospital, Highgate London. She is both a senior embryologist at one of the most successful and largest private IVF clinics in London, and a specialist andrologist with over 9 years experience. She has helped countless people build their families. 

Erica holds a BSc in Molecular Genetics, an MSc in Human Reproduction and the ACE Certificate in Clinical Embryology. She has also set up a donor sperm bank offering a range of sperm donors to suit individual needs. We offer fertility tests for men on Tuesday, Thursday and Friday at the Whittington Hospital, Highgate London. 

Free sessions at the Natural Fertility Clinic

Fertility solutions is excited to announce that we will be offering free sessions with the Natural fertility clinic. They offer acupuncture, fertility and nutritional advice. The free sessions will be on a first come first served basis when booking a semen analysis at any of our 6 clinics. This includes our London, Slough, Maidenhead, Windsor and Tunbridge Wells male fertility testing clinics. 

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