Is watery semen a sign of infertility?

What you need to know:

  • A woman who previously had a child may fail to get pregnant again after developing infertility or her partner may have become infertile

I have a six-year-old child but I have failed to get pregnant again.  Recently, I noticed that my husband’s semen is watery. Is this the reason I have failed to get pregnant? Alimara

Dear Alimara, 
When a couple, comprising a man and woman of child-bearing age, have regular, unprotected sex but take a year or more without getting pregnant, then the couple will be thought to be infertile (and in your case secondary infertility, since you already have a child).

A woman who previously had a child may fail to get pregnant again after developing infertility or her partner may have become infertile. It could also be that both partners have developed fertility problems, hindering their chances of getting a child.

Semen is usually a whitish-grey jelly-like liquid made up of a variety of minerals, proteins, hormones, enzymes and sperm. During sex and after ejaculation, it can take 10 to 30 minutes for the semen to become watery in order to release sperm that is able to swim from the vaginal canal to the fallopian tubes where they (sperm) may cause fertilisation, leading to pregnancy.

After sexual intercourse, therefore, a number of women may not experience a watery discharge until they stand up for long periods. The watery discharge is usually semen, which may cause a woman to believe that their man’s semen is watery, whereas not.

Sometimes, semen can be watery upon ejaculation for many reasons including nutritional deficiencies such as zinc deficiency, lifestyle factors such as frequent ejaculation (21 or more times per month), masturbation, a low sperm count and defective sperm quality.
Also, when a man presents only pre-ejaculation fluid (that is released during foreplay) one may mistake it for watery semen yet this is not real semen.

A low sperm count (fewer than 15 million sperm per cc or less than 39 million sperm in the total amount of semen ejaculated) may reduce the likelihood of making a fertile woman pregnant. The latter could be the reason why you could have become pregnant once but failed to do so again.

Sometimes, sperm may be more than 15 million per cc but are of poor quality (abnormal shape or structure, poor motility and abnormal DNA) and in most cases may fail to cause pregnancy.
Since the reason you have failed to get pregnant may be you, your man or both of you having fertility problems, visit your doctor together for fertility check-ups and possible treatment.