Like many women, Ms Lim had always thought she was the one “at fault”.
But doctors here say they are seeing more cases of male infertility, partly because more men are seeking help, but also because more men are suffering from it.
Age is thought to be one of the main factors behind the rise.
Singrapore Urologist, Dr Michael Wong at the International Urology, Fertility & Gynaecology Centre at Mount Elizabeth Medical Centre has noted a four-fold increase in male infertility treated at his practice in the past five years.
Aside from greater awareness leading to more cases being diagnosed, more people are delaying marriage or getting married again, which means the men are older and sperm quality is poorer, he said.
Based on international studies, female factors account for 55 per cent of infertility cases while male factors account for 45 per cent of cases, said DrWong.
Both female and male factors are present in 25 per cent of cases. Thus, in general, male factors contribute to about 60 per cent of all infertile couples.
“In many second marriages, where the man is in general older and the woman is younger, the male factor is expected to be much higher,” he said.
In fact, the in-vitro fertilisation (IVF) centre at the KK Women’s and Children’s Hospital (KKH) has noticed the incidence of male infertility going up from 62per cent in 2001 to 73per cent in 2005, and 77per cent last year.
At the National University Hospital (NUH) Women’s Centre, the number of couples seeking fertility treatment at the centre has risen by about 10percent in the last one to two years.
Professor P.C. Wong, head and senior consultant at the division of reproductive endocrinology and infertility in the department of obstetrics and gynaecology at National University Hospital (NUH), said that male infertility is brought up only when couples seek fertility treatment at the centre.
Men do not seek fertility treatment independently, he said.
Many men still do not feel they are the primary cause of infertility though, increasingly, they may be.
A man’s “biological clock” is not as obvious as that of a woman, as age-related decline in fertility in males is more gradual, he said.