When you cannot get pregnant

It can be extremely frustrating when pregnancy just refuses to happen. Perhaps it is more than half a year ago since you came off the pill. Your periods are normal, and you have had a check-up to make sure you are ovulating.

Visiting your GP

You and yourr partner has also been to the doctor. Everything is apparently fine. A sufficient number of sperm are swimming as they should. But nothing seems to be happening!

When you start on your fertility journey, it is often assumed that it is a simple problem you are facing. You and your partner think it is just a matter of trying and timing your efforts with ovulation.
It is often also assumed that this is a problem which has to do with the woman. Especially when the semen quality is normal (or close to normal), it is not regarded as a male factor infertility. For approximately 15% of the couples, no obvious reason for infertility is detected.

A common but overlooked problem

In many cases the visit to the GP results in further investigations at the gynaecologist. Obviously, his job is to focus on female issues and this may one reason why no further examinations is done for the man at this stage.

One of the common problems affecting male fertility is sperm DNA fragmentation. Normal semen quality does not rule out this cause even if the semen quality is absolutely normal.

In SPZ Lab we are routinely analysing all data statistically. Since 2008, more than 600 SDI®-tests have been done for couples at this stage. The test identifies the proportion of sperm with damaged (or fragmented) DNA. This measure is the DFI value.

Our results show that 20 to 25% of the men has a DFI between 15 and 25 (‘increased DFI’). This means that their fertility is reduced.
In addition, 10 to 15 % of the men will have a DFI above 25 (‘high DFI’) and hence a strongly reduced fertility.