Why IVF is failing so many couples – the TRUTH to making awesome babies.

Today I’m asking for your help. I need people to hear this message. I need people to know the truth. My heart longs for people to make educated decisions and not be bullied or tricked into avenues that may not suit them. I ask you today, to share this post and from the bottom of my heart I thank you. You’re going to change somebodies life by doing so – you are living by the affirmation – ‘be the change.’ Go be it.

Up to 60% your ability to conceive today, relies on your man having whipper snipper sperm. That’s a fair chunk of the puzzle when you consider most fertility treatments jump straight onto getting the lady parts happening with little thought for sperm quality. Since coming back from maternity leave (it’s nearing 1 year) I have seen one good semen analysis. ONE! That frightens the pants off me… There’s a lot of couples coming through my doors desperately seeking answers as to why they aren’t falling pregnant. Poor semen quality is such a rising trend, at times you’ll find me in clinic making a b-line toward daddy – the truth is, his sperm need to be in tip top order for conception and beyond.

Much of what I write here on my blog is drawn from first hand experience in my clinic. Just three weeks ago, one sunny Saturday, I left work a very grumpy health practitioner. I had been faced with not one but three very distraught couples. Each of them had been referred straight to IVF immediately after very poor semen reports, so bad in fact, all three partners had zero viable sperm. I spent a long time explaining to each individual case why this wasn’t actually the end of the world but a little gift, to have answers and a problem that was relatively easy to solve. What I needed them to really understand was that no amount of IVF was ever going to work with totally unviable sperm. What I was most furious about was the fact that they were being referred immediately to IVF and IVF accepting them knowing that it was virtually impossible to create a successful pregnancy without viable sperm. These couples were literally being asked to flush their money down the drain. Conception whether it natural or assisted requires at least some level in viability of semen. Without this, it is actually physically impossible for an egg to be fertilised; if the semen is 100% abnormal, there is no chance of fertilisation.

Here’s the deal. There are 3 parts to semen quality that are tested in your run of the mill analysis with acceptable ‘normal’ parameters’

  • Motility (how they are swimming) in which 60% must be live.
  • Morphology (how normal the sperm actually look) with at least 4% normal forms (what are the other 96% doing!?)
  • The sperm count (how many there actually are) 50 million per millilitre

Semen analysis parameters are forever being re-adjusted to reflect what the ‘normal’ ranges are observed in a clinic setting for IVF. As the quality of semen declines, these reference ranges are adjusted to reflect the deterioration. This means that, these results are based on the ‘average’ results for those doing IVF not natural fertility. So if your partner is lining up for his semen analysis and it is coming back within ‘normal’ ranges, know these are reflecting what is adequate for IVF not natural conception. So very often I ask couples for their analysis results to be told “oh that’s not our issue – my specialist told me they are perfect!” When I have the opportunity to look at the specifics, I most often discover that perfect result isn’t anything to be hi five-ing your specialist over because they are very often, VERY average. Very low parameters are considered ‘normal’ nowadays. This is a huge problem for those trying to conceive in any case.

Sperm will literally ‘morph’ into all kinds of presentations (think two heads or two tails like something out of a sci-fi movie, wonky bodies or missing DNA) all a result of ill health or poor lifestyle habits. It can be from simple things like sitting down for too long or drinking too much alcohol. In fact, you’ll be told that if you have at just 4% normal forms, you have gang buster sperm. What in heavens name are the other 96% doing!? 4% normal forms in my book is so very inadequate. So many couples are literally throwing away chances every month because the chances of conception are very unlikely. Conception is a numbers game. If we can improve this result by just 5%, you’re already going to be well ahead and closer to having your healthy baby.

For successful, healthy long term pregnancies, sperm must be fantastic. It’s as simple as that. Of course the woman needs to be in good health too. I talk about many ways in my e-book, that men can improve sperm quality overall. It’s not hard, it takes around 3 months to start to see results and it works. I’d encourage any couple embarking on IVF to get the semen quality as good as possible. It really is key for success in both natural and assisted conception. It’s a subject so close to my heart. I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments section below.

Oh and before I go – last day to register for my gentle autumn body cleanse. Another way to get on track to successfully making babies.


  • April 10, 2013 By SJ 9:18 am

    Love this Nat, will definitely be sharing. Such an important message, thank you for your wonderful work! 🙂

  • April 10, 2013 By RD 12:23 pm

    Thank you Nat!! I have been trying to get my Husband onto my ‘lifestyle change’ (trying to conceive and have PCOS) now I can show him this post so he can understand he needs to be in shape to!

  • April 11, 2013 By Lindsey Elling 4:53 am

    Thank you so much for sharing this! At Key to Conceive, we strive to educate couples on the importance of sperm capacitation for the conception process. Most couples don’t even consider the man could be the problem and we see too many couples fast-tracked to IVF when a simpler solution exists.

  • April 11, 2013 By Cass 10:17 pm

    This makes me so angry!!! Thanks for sharing! x

  • April 16, 2013 By Blythe 2:57 pm

    Hi Nat

    I have some very dear friends who are unable to fall preganant due to zero viable sperm. they were referred to specialists and told their only option is donor sperm. My girlfriend can’t get her head around this so they have (unhappily) decided that they can’t proceed. Can the methods in fertilise Yourself assist men with zero viable sperm?

    Thank you.

  • April 16, 2013 By Leanne 2:59 pm

    Yes.This is absolutely true.Many couples are thinking IVF is the only solution for infertility.I think they are not even aware of the causes for infertility and alternative treatments. Before considering a treatment It’s important for everyone to have a clear idea about their condition. Male infertility issues are increasing among couples.I hope this article will create awareness among couples

  • April 16, 2013 By infertility in men/women 10:15 pm

    hi all

    IVF is the fertilization process which is undergone outside the body

  • April 23, 2013 By Michelle 6:20 am

    Thanks Nat, I’ve been trying to convince my hubby that he needs to make some changes so hopefully this post will get the message across. Thanks for all your information.

  • April 25, 2013 By ap 2:50 am

    Hi Nat,

    Thanks so much for this post – I have been a “closet reader” for some time, and we got the results of my husband’s SA about an hour ago, and after searching for morphology online, I came back to your blog and I’m glad to have read this! I’m learning that morphology really seems to be affected by lifestyle choices and overall health, and I can see how lifestyle choices are not preparing us to have a baby! The hardest part for me, though, is that the doctor told us that there is no way to improve sperm morphology. I don’t see why not! You might need to wait 72 days, but it is possible to find out if sperm quality has changed, and I hope that my husband and I might be able to do just that. Thanks so much!

  • April 25, 2013 By Belinda 3:22 pm

    Hi Nat,

    I read this when you first posted it, and it has played on my mind a bit since then. My husband had a semen analysis a while back and the doctor told us the results are all good. I’m wondering now if the results really are good or not!?

    I’d be interested to know what you consider to be a good analysis?



    • April 28, 2013 By mnfadmin 10:33 pm

      It will differ from situation to situation. I’d like them to be at least 10% normal that said – the better the result, the better the health!

  • May 16, 2013 By Amanda Timms 8:28 pm

    YES THANK YOU, FINALLY!!!! I am woman who is able to conceive but my wonderful husband has a low sperm count, mobility and quality and therefore to have a baby we go through IVF. However I always feel they are treating me why not treat Sean and research ways to help these men!!!! Luckily we have been blessed with one beautiful child.

  • June 22, 2013 By Andrew Lemoto 9:09 am

    Hi me an my partner have done two rounds of IVF with no success as the first time round it fell away and the second time we had a miss carage,the say she has poor egg quality even thow she is only 32yrs of age they also had to inject my swimmers twice for the both rounds maybe you are right pleas inbox me for more help!!!

  • July 2, 2013 By Jessica 6:19 am

    Love your very informative site!

    What is the best way to improve morphology (when count (72 mil), motility (40)are good)

    We are trying herbs – vitamins – acupuncture – detox diet – before attempting an IUI,

    Naturally, our RE made no mention that it could be improved. I have read online otherwise.

    Can the morphology really be improved?!

    Thanks again for your great site.

    • July 8, 2013 By mnfadmin 11:00 pm

      Yes of course with the right diet and lifestyle changes! All the principles are in my ebook – fertilise yourself

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