Male factor infertility is one of the many conditions that can be helped with The Béa Treatment. Read on to find out more about the condition, the intracervical insemination (ICI) treatment, and how to improve your chances of conceiving. 

Written by Sandy Christiansen, MSc
Lead Fertility Coach & Embryologist

In this article:

Section 1: Does the Béa Treatment work with Male Factor Infertility?
Section 2: What is Male Factor Infertility?
Section 3: What treatments are available for Male Factor Infertility?

Does the Béa Treatment work with male factor infertility?

Yes - it does! The Béa Treatment could be a good treatment option for male factor infertility. The Béa Applicator places our custom cervical cap against the cervix, holding semen in place for up to one hour. The cervical cap can be beneficial in cases of low sperm quality as the semen is concentrated near the cervix for an extended period of time. This increases the exposure to the cervical mucus, minimises the contact of semen in the vagina (where the pH can reduce sperm quality) and reduces semen backflow.

Reasons why people try ICI with male factor infertility

  • Right here, right now.

Have you been told to “keep trying another year”? Not with us. Instant access to fertility treatment without being on a waitlist.

  • Takes the pressure off

You still need to ejaculate into a cup - but our cervical cap does the work of getting sperm to the cervix (so sex can be fun again).

  • Additional support

Male factor infertility is often overlooked. Not with us. We're here to help.


    What is male factor infertility?

    Male factor infertility refers to not being able to conceive with a fertile, female partner after 1 year of unprotected intercourse. It can occur if there is no or low sperm production, abnormal sperm function or a blockage that prevents sperm from being ejaculated. They’re a factor in around 1 in 3 couples who have trouble trying to get pregnant. 

    Problems with sperm quality could be associated with hormonal imbalances, a genetic condition, testicular damage or obstruction, or certain medications. Illnesses, injuries, chronic health problems and lifestyle factors can also impact male fertility. 


    What type of male factor infertility do you have?

    If you and your partner are having trouble getting pregnant, one of the first tests your doctor will likely ask for is a semen analysis. A semen analysis is a test performed to evaluate semen and sperm. The semen is collected by masturbation into a sterile pot, usually within a fertility clinic setting. The test will analyse the volume, how many sperm there are (concentration), how the sperm are moving (motility) and how they are shaped (morphology). Male factor infertility can present itself in a number of different ways. We've summarised this below.

    Low sperm count

    A sperm count lower than 39 million per ejaculate. This is determined by a semen analysis and interpreted as oligospermia or oligozoospermia.

    The Béa Treatment is suitable if you have a low count as the cervical cap concentrates semen near the cervix.

    Low sperm motility

    Total motility (movement of sperm) lower than 42% in the ejaculate, as determined by a semen analysis. This is determined by a semen analysis and interpreted as astenospermia or astenozoospermia.

    The Béa Treatment is suitable if you have low motility as the cervical cap concentrates semen near the cervix.

    Low sperm morphology

    Morphology (normal forms) lower than 4%, as determined by a semen analysis. This is determined by a semen analysis and interpreted as teratospermia or teratozoospermia.

    The Béa Treatment is suitable if you have low morphology as the cervical cap concentrates semen near the cervix.

    It's important to note - if no sperm or no moving sperm are found in the ejaculate - the Béa Treatment would not be suitable.

    What treatments are available?

    Most treatment options are prescribed by a fertility specialist. If you have a health condition causing your fertility problems, then targeted treatment may improve sperm production and quality. Other treatment options include assisted reproductive treatments when trying to conceive.

    1. Medical options

    Low testosterone: If you have low testosterone levels, your doctor may suggest hormone therapy* to encourage sperm production. Injections of gonadotropins can help increase testosterone levels which in turn will trigger the testicles to produce sperm.
    Retrograde ejaculation: If you are experiencing retrograde ejaculation (when sperm travel to your bladder instead of through the penis) then your doctor may prescribe medicines to close the opening of your bladder.
    Ejaculation problems: Problems maintaining an erection or ejaculating are common problems that could be caused by certain medication, prostate problems, thyroid problems and sometimes stress. Medication like sildenafil (Viagra®) may be helpful.

    *Medication for sperm production and sperm quality should not negatively impact an ICI Treatment or your chance of conceiving. Sperm production is continuous and it takes on average 90 days to produce new sperm, so in some cases, you may have to wait to see the results of any medication. 

    2. Surgery

    Varicocele: Varicocele is a group of enlarged veins near your testicles. This can cause swelling and pain, and have a negative impact on sperm quality. A varicocele repair can alleviate any discomfort and improve sperm production and quality.

    Obstruction: In some cases, lack of sperm in the ejaculate could be due to an obstruction in the delivery of sperm. A surgery to remove a blockage in the tubes that take sperm from your testicles to your penis can help improve sperm count and quality.

    The key is to make sure that you have healed fully from any surgery before considering getting pregnant and trying ICI. Talk to you doctor about your plans to conceive and get the green light to go ahead after your surgery.

    3. Try the Béa Treatment

    Out of the millions of sperm ejaculated during intercourse, only approximately 200 sperm make it to the end of the fallopian tubes, where the egg is released from the ovary. For those with low sperm quality that number could be greatly reduced; meaning it can be more difficult, or take longer, to conceive. One of the key parts of the treatment that can be beneficial for those with low sperm quality – is the cervical cap. The cervical cap concentrates semen at the opening of the cervix, delivering up to 3.2x more sperm into the cervical mucus than sexual intercourse, helping them get where they need to go. In addition, the cervical cap minimises the contact of semen in the vagina (where the pH can reduce sperm quality) and reduces semen backflow.

    How do you decide what treatment is right for you?

    Treatment options will often depend on the specific cause or diagnosis of male factor infertility. You will be able to discuss the different treatment options with your doctor who will help outline the risks and benefits of each option. There are several things they may take into consideration when determining the best treatment type, most importantly the reason for seeking treatment:

    • hormonal imbalance
    • ejaculatory disorders
    • testicular pain or discomfort
    • trying to conceive

    What else can you do to improve your chances of conceiving?

    In many cases, the cause of a lowered sperm quantity or quality is unknown. However, there are some factors that are known to reduce sperm quality. Research has shown that an unhealthy lifestyle can have a negative impact on semen parameters. Changes to your lifestyle may help improve your sperm health and optimise your chances of conceiving. 

    Want to learn more about improving your sperm health - click here to access our sperm health guide!

    Speaking to your GP about the Béa ICI Treatment

    The Béa Treatment is new on the market – it's possible your GP hasn't heard of it yet. It's an at-home fertility treatment that previously hasn't been accessible or available to purchase online. We know GP appointments are short - so here's the TL:DR version:

    The Béa Treatment is the modern take on ICI (intracervical insemination). It's an at-home fertility treatment that's affordable and accessible. It involves placing a cervical cap with semen near the cervix and it has a pregnancy rate of 50% over 6 cycles.