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Infertility in Numbers

infertility in numbers

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When it comes to infertility, we can feel like we are the only ones going through it. But as these stats show – millions of people around the world are facing the same struggles as you. Breaking infertility down by numbers can help you get some perspective and feel less alone.

1 in 6 couples struggle with infertility

If you are facing fertility struggles, you can feel totally isolated. It might seem like everyone you know is having babies with ease, but the truth is that there are millions of people around the world for who conceiving is a challenge.

This exact statistic tends to fluctuate depending on which country the study or survey takes place in and what age group the research focuses on. However, 1 in 6 is a pretty conservative estimate, with some research indicating it could be as high as 1 in 4 couples who are struggling to conceive. This means that if you are dealing with infertility, there is a high likelihood that someone in your inner circle is going through the same thing! Whilst no one finds comfort in other people’s pain, it can be reassuring to know that you are not alone in your fertility challenges and that millions of people around the world understand what you’re going through.

30% of cases are purely due to male fertility factors

Fertility has historically been thought of as a ‘women’s issue’ but it could not be further from the cases. The truth is that when it comes to contributing factors of infertility, things are pretty split between the sexes.

Generally speaking, male-factor infertility issues – like low sperm count or poor motility – are the reason for 30% of infertility cases and around the same amount is down to purely female fertility factors. The remaining 40% is due to a combination of both male and female factors. Outside of this, around 15-20% of cases of infertility are deemed as ‘unexplained’ – meaning there are no clear reasons why conception is proving difficult.

These stats are not about finding someone to ‘blame’ for infertility – it’s never your fault! – but it’s important to remember that protecting, improving and testing male fertility is just as important as the female side of things. In many cases, male factor fertility issues are actually more easily rectified than those relating to women, so if you’re on a fertility journey make sure you’re not left on the sidelines and get proactive about investigating your sperm health – it could hold the key to unlocking your fertility problems.


1 in 4 pregnancies ends in loss

Pregnancy loss is still treated as a taboo topic – and this shouldn’t be the case. Miscarriage is far more common than many of us realise, because so many of us are suffering in silence.

The majority of miscarriages happen within the first trimester – a time that is often shrouded in secrecy. There is a societal norm to keep a pregnancy secret for the first three months and that’s purely because the chances of miscarriage are higher. Whilst this recommendation was originally designed to protect people from heartbreak, it actually just stops them from sharing their experiences and isolates people and couples from their support network.

The silence surrounding miscarriage also means that if it happens to us we feel like it’s our fault, that there’s a way we could have prevented it. The fact that pregnancy loss happens to so many people, and is so often unexplained, proves that this simply isn’t true. If you have lost a baby on your road to parenthood, try to replace blame with compassion for yourself and take any steps necessary to get the support you need.

You can learn more about pregnancy loss and where to get support here.

More than six million children are born through assisted fertility treatments

Since the first IVF baby was born in 1978, the world of assisted fertility has evolved incredibly. There are now millions of people around the world who would not be here if it weren’t for the power of fertility treatments – and we think that’s pretty incredible.

Not only do processes like IVF and ICSI help couples struggling with infertility to become parents, but they also open doors for LGBTQ+ couples who want to build a family. If you are embarking on an assisted fertility journey, you might feel overwhelmed or be struggling to come to terms with the fact you are unable to conceive naturally. It can help to remember that you are joining a community of millions who have benefitted from fertility treatment and that there is no longer one ‘standard’ way to make a baby. Understanding your options can help you feel more in control of the situation and give you a more positive outlook. You can learn more about assisted fertility treatments here.


90% of people facing long-term infertility stated that they had experienced depression

By now we all recognise how important supporting our mental health is, but sometimes it still feels like the impact a fertility journey can have on our emotional well-being is underestimated.

A Fertility Network UK survey not only discovered that 90% of infertility patients struggle with symptoms of depression, but 42% even reported feeling suicidal. Despite the clear need for mental health support throughout a fertility journey, few people report receiving effective counselling during treatment.

If you are struggling with your mental health, it’s important to remember that you are not alone. There are many incredible support networks out there to help connect you with experts who can help you navigate these challenges, and other people and couples who know what you’re going through and lend an empathetic ear. There is even a specific online group for men called HIM Fertility, run by our friend Ian Stones, which is definitely worth checking out if you need a safe space to talk about your feelings.

Whatever your journey to parenthood looks like, remember, infertility is not an island and you are not alone.



Do you know about your fertility? Trying for a baby, or planning to in the future? The possibility of male factor infertility is a very real consideration when trying to conceive, and it’s now easier than ever to check male fertility in the comfort of your home, without long waiting times and without breaking the bank. Explore if ExSeed’s At-Home Sperm Test Kit could be for you!

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More to explore

Wearing tight pants and underwear

Studies show that men who wear looser underwear have higher sperm concentration and total sperm count compared to men who wear tighter underwear. So, lose the tight clothes and wear something loose to give your testicles some air.

CONCLUSION: learn more about how heat can affect sperm quality here.


Besides higher mortality rate and various diseases, stress is associated with low sperm quality. Stress is known to be associated with lower testosterone levels and oxidative stress with both playing an essential role in producing and maintaining healthy sperm cells.

CONCLUSION: If you feel stressed, we recommend you get some help so you can have a balanced mental health. For a stress management guide, download the ExSeed app for free and start your personalized action plan today.

Physical activity

Scientific studies show that men who are physically active have better semen parameters than men who are inactive. Fertility specialists also state that regular physical activity has beneficial impact on sperm fertility parameters and such a lifestyle can enhance the fertility status of men.

Prioritizing exercise can help improve your overall health and result in healthy, fast swimming sperm cells that have good chances of fertilizing an egg.

CONCLUSION: Try incorporating exercise in your weekly schedule to you ensure exercising at least twice weekly. We recommend a combination of cardio training and strength exercise. Read more about exercise and male fertility on our blog.


Fast Food
Processed foods damage the health of sperm-producing cells and cause oxidative stress, which lead to poorer sperm quality. Heavy consumption of junk food (every week) can increase the likelihood of infertility since men who consume vast amounts of unhealthy food are at risk of having poor sperm quality. Besides harming your fertility, junk food enlarges your waistline, harms your cardiovascular system, kidneys, and more.

Eating more fruit and vegetables can increase your sperm concentration and motility. It’s important that you consume a healthy diet filled with antioxidants and that you eat vegetables every day. Foods such as apricots and red bell peppers are high in vitamin A, which improves male fertility by nurturing healthier sperm. Men who are deficient in this vitamin tend to have slow and sluggish sperm.

Sugary snacks/beverages: several times a week Excessive consumption of high sugar items can lead to oxidative stress, which negatively impacts testosterone levels and sperm motility. Sugary snacks and beverages are also highly associated with obesity and low fertility.
CONCLUSION: To boost sperm quality, stay away from fast food, processed food, and sugary snacks or beverages. You need to implement a healthy prudent diet filled with necessary superfoods needed for good sperm production. Check out our guide to Male Fertility Superfoods. For personalized guidance and support on how you can start improving your sperm health, check out the Bootcamp.


Direct heat can inhibit optimal sperm production and cause Sperm DNA damage. Sperm cells like environments that are a couple of degrees lower than body temperature. Avoid overheating from warm blankets, seat warmers, heat from your laptop, hot showers, and saunas.

Cigarette smoking

The exposure to tobacco smoke has significant negative effects on semen quality. The damage of cigarettes and nicotine of course depends on how many cigarettes you smoke per day and for how long, but even low usage (up to 10 cigarettes / day) can inhibit healthy sperm production.  

CONCLUSION: Stay as far away from cigarette smoking as possible if you care about your general health and your fertility. Read more here.

Cell phone

When you have your cell phone in your front pocket, your testicles are exposed to electromagnetic radiation, which studies have shown to damage the sperm cells. Put your phone in the back pocket of your pants or in your jacket pocket.


There is a clear association between obesity and reduced sperm quality. At least part of the reason for this is that obese men may have abnormal reproductive hormonal profiles, which can impair sperm production and lead to infertility. 

A BMI higher than 30 can lead to several processes in the body (overheating, increase in oxidative stress in the testes, sperm DNA damage, erectile dysfunction) that can have a negative impact on male fertility. This can result in problems when trying to conceive.  

CONCLUSION: BMI is one of the risk factors that influence semen quality and, for example, sperm motility.  


A beer or glass of wine now and then do not really harm sperm quality. But excess alcohol drinking (more than 20 units per week) can reduce the production of normally formed sperm needed for a successful pregnancy.

CONCLUSION: If you want to stay safe, stay under 14 units of alcohol per week. For more information on how alcohol can affect male fertility, take a look at our blog: “Alcohol and Sperm Quality”.


Studies show that women younger than 35 and men younger than 40 have a better chance of getting pregnant. Men can produce sperm cells almost through their entire life, but the sperm cell DNA is more fragile and prone to damage after the age of 40.

As men age, their testes tend to get smaller and softer resulting in a decline in sperm quality and production. These changes are partly because of an age-related decrease in testosterone level, which plays a very important role in sperm

production. Higher male age (>40 years) is not only associated with a decline in sperm production but also with increased sperm DNA fragmentation and worsened morphology (shape) and motility (movement). These negative effects make the sperm cells less qualified for egg fertilization.

CONCLUSION: with an age under 40, you shouldn’t have to worry much about age as a factor in itself. However, studies have shown a slow decline after the age of 30-35 years

and if you are above 40 years of age, your sperm quality can be affected due to increased sperm DNA damage resulting in a decrease of sperm motility and concentration. Remember that you cannot evaluate the quality of a sperm sample by just looking at it – this requires a sperm analysis.