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In order for a man to be able to conceive a child naturally, his semen must meet the following three quality criteria (according to WHO guidelines):

  • Concentration: one milliliter of sperm fluid must contain at least 10 million sperm
  • Morphology: at least 5 per cent of these cells must be normally shaped
  • Motility: at least 20 per cent of the sperm must be able to move quickly


For years we have observed that in more than half of cases where couples cannot conceive naturally, the cause lies with the man. Apart from obvious problems with semen delivery, which include erectile dysfunction, there are a number of reasons for male infertility e.g. genetic causes, inflammation or neurological causes. Despite research, about one third of male fertility disorders are classified as idiopathic (i.e. of unknown cause).

Various studies have shown a connection between increased BMI and reduced semen quality in men. Although the influence of obesity on a man’s fertility has not yet been fully clarified, the possible connection should be pointed out during the initial consultation and weight reduction would be recommended.

The harmful influence of nicotine consumption on semen quality has been proven. Negative effects not only affect the sperm concentration, motility (mobility) and morphological (appearance of the sperm) quality, but also increases oxidative stress. A reduced pregnancy rate through artificial insemination, due to paternal nicotine consumption has been observed. After abstinence from nicotine, it takes about two years for the fertilization rates of eggs and the chances of pregnancy to recover.