According to scientists, super-speedy sperm testing technology may be just around the corner.
The researchers, led by Washington State University, hope the new technology could spare would-be parents years of uncertainty.
It all stems from the team’s discovery of how to identify differences in the molecular structure of the sperm in infertile men, which are not present in fertile men.
Scientists have long known of a possible link between male infertility and alterations to groups of molecules attached to sperm DNA.
The scientists found all of the infertile men in the research group possessed a specific biomarker which fertile men did not.
This discovery, they say, could lead to a screening test that would be able to more rapidly deliver results.
At the moment it’s common practice for doctors to advise couples try to conceive naturally for a year before undergoing semen analysis.
Routinely, collections are made over several months to get accurate results.
The research comes amid claims of a growing global male fertility ‘crisis’.
A 2017 study, for example, revealed that sperm counts among Western men has more than halved over the past 40 years.
Currently in the UK, around one in ten men of all ages suffers from infertility, and some studies have indicated that as many as one in five men under 35 has a low sperm count.