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Men's Health Movember: Is ICSI the Only Option for Sperm Issues?

16th November 2018 in Fertility

This information was correct at the time of publishing. It may not reflect our current practices, prices or regulations.

Let’s talk male fertility for Movember, the annual focus on the key health and wellbeing issues faced by men.

ICSI is the treatment designed for male factor infertility, but it might not be your only option if you have sperm issues that are making it hard to conceive.

Depending on your semen analysis results, other treatments may be effective, including IUI, IVF or even simple lifestyle changes. Here’s what you need to know about male infertility treatment options:

Lifestyle changes for sperm health

Did you know that many sperm issues are caused by lifestyle factors? You produce new sperm everyday, which mature after three months. Throughout this continuous cycle, your sperm can be affected by the things you put into your body, what you eat, drink, smoke or take. So all you may need to do to boost your sperm health and achieve pregnancy is improve your lifestyle.

A lifestyle assessment is a key part of a male fertility test at Manchester Fertility. We will advise you about any sperm-friendly changes you can make when we assess your sperm. Such as achieving a healthy BMI, quitting smoking, enjoying alcohol in moderation and ensuring you don’t take any recreational or performance-enhancing drugs like steroids, which affect the hormones responsible for sperm production.

You can book in for a private male fertility assessment here.


If you have made positive lifestyle changes but still have not conceived, IUI may be advised to help. IUI – Intrauterine Insemination - involves washing your sperm, a process which separates sperm from the seminal fluid, washing away any slow or immobile sperm so only the fastest sperm remain. This sperm is then inserted directly into the uterus to fertilise the egg.


IVF may also be an option for mild sperm issues, depending on your diagnosis. IVF mixes the washed sperm and eggs together in a laboratory to help with fertilisation.


ICSI – Intracytoplasmic Sperm Injection - involves selecting a single, healthy sperm and injecting it directly into the egg for fertilisation. ICSI may be advised if you have a high level of sperm DNA damage or moderate sperm issues.

Surgical Sperm Retrieval

Some men need surgical help to conceive because of azoospermia, which is when there is no sperm in your sample. This can be caused by blockages in the tubes that transport sperm, issues with sperm production or because of diagnosed conditions which affect fertility such as Klinefelter Syndrome.

Surgical Sperm Retrieval (SSR) is a micro-surgical procedure that aims to retrieve viable sperm from within the testicular tissues, for use in ICSI treatment. If you have azoospermia, you will be seen by our consultant urologist, Dr Steve Bromage, for evaluation and treatment.

Male fertility help and advice

If you are worried about your fertility and sperm health, it is easy to get expert help and support. Talk to our Patient Advisors on 0161 300 2737 or self-refer online if you would like to book in for a fertility assessment, which includes semen analysis, lifestyle assessment and a consultation with a male fertility specialist.


Last updated: 10th March 2021