Why the Male Fertility Industry is Exploding

Lily Elsner, CEO at Jack Fertility, explores..

Recently headlines globally have shouted about the concerning trend with male fertility as sperm counts and concentration decrease with accelerating speed.

Sperm counts dropped by 1.2% per year from 1973 – 2000 but from 2000 to 2018, the decline was 2.6% per year. These may seem like small figures, but the increasing drop means millions of men will likely experience fertility issues at a drastically increasing rate.

The fertility industry is growing rapidly with a leading research firm, Data Bridge predicting that by 2026 the global fertility industry will be making $41bn in sales. Currently, 1 in 50 babies in the UK are born via IVF, 1in 60 in the US and in Denmark, Israel and Japan the figure is more than one in 25—and rising.
But when you hear the word “fertility,” what gender do you think of? Does the male factor cross your mind?
Ludicrously, fertility has always been almost solely focused on women. IVF, eggs freezing, and the female biological clock dominates the agenda. While women’s health desperately needs attention, investment, and innovation after being historically ignored, Male Fertility has remained arguably the last taboo subject in medicine.

Its importance is hugely misunderstood by the general public and clinicians. It certainly isn’t perceived as 50% of the conception journey, when trying to conceive. It isn’t known that of all infertility cases, approximately 40–50% are due to “male factor” infertility. When discussing family planning, it’s unheard of to say, “oh has he gotten tested” rather than “she.”

Part of the problem has been the barrier to fertility testing for men. Wait times on the NHS are long in local areas and require a person with sperm to confirm that he is actively trying to conceive.   Private clinics usually cost about 200GBP to get tested and results explained, not including time off work and travel to get checked.
The sterile, embarrassing, emasculating sample production process in the clinic is the stuff of comedy.
We at Jack Fertility knew there had to be a better way. We will be launching the first UK postal male fertility test in 2023, providing men with a convenient way to collect a sperm sample at home and send it to our lab for discreet yet comprehensive, easy-to-understand testing, avoiding the need for an awkward, inconvenient trip to a clinic.

Jack Fertility is just one of a new wave of fertility start-ups that are focused on offering a unique solution to the rapidly expanding male fertility industry.

Others include Fertilitae, a wellness assessment that gives a personalised plan to reach optimal pre-pregnancy health, Peppy, an app that supports employees through menopause, fertility, having a baby, women’s health and men’s health and Test Him Ltd which provides guidance, comprehensive tests and ongoing support for men to create positive change within male fertility.

All these firms are attracting huge amounts of interest from investors, the health industry and the public as they aim to address the perception that fertility is primarily a “woman’s issue” and that women shouldn’t have to bear the unfair burden of invasive and expensive fertility treatments when 50% of the time it is the “man’s issue”.

At Jack Fertility, we aim to remove barriers for couples trying to conceive. We strive to make sperm testing as easy as possible by offering our discreet postal service. We hope that both men and women are encouraged to order a test when trying to conceive, or even if they are just curious about their ability to have a child one day.