Having a healthy sperm count is more important to men than a successful career or being popular with women, a poll revealed today.

Settling down with a partner tops life's priorities, followed by owning a property, it found.

But having good quality sperm or a high sperm count ranks equal third place with maintaining a healthy bank balance.

Being successful at work came in fourth place, followed by having a good appearance in fifth.

Men regarded being good at sport and driving a nice car as joint sixth place, while popularity with women came last, in seventh place.

The survey of 3,000 men was carried out by Government-funded charity the National Gamete Donation Trust.

It has launched a campaign to encourage men to come forward as sperm donors to tackle a national shortage.

Today's poll also found that while 13% of men believe sperm quality is their top priority, 91% underestimate the number of couples suffering infertility in the UK.

One in six couples are thought to have problems conceiving.

Laura Witjens, chairwoman of the charity, said: "As our research shows, men view their sperm count and ability to have children as crucially important in life, and the new campaign we're launching today - called Have You Got the Balls? - aims to get men thinking about sperm donation.

"In the UK, there are hundreds of couples who need a sperm donor to help them conceive the child they long for so much, either because of infertility or genetic disease.

"These couples rely on men stepping forward as sperm donors."