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All Posts in Category: Male Infertility

Common Causes of Male Infertility

Figures have shown that 20 percent of couples in the United States seek advice or care relating to infertility at some point during their lifetime. Around 10 percent of couples in the United States are of reproductive age and infertile, and around 50 percent of these cases are down to make infertility. While many people believe that fertility problems are usually related to the female in the couple, this is largely due to the fact that many males do not seek medical help or advice in the same way as women do.

There are a number of common causes of male infertility, some of which are physical or hormonal issues. However, there are also many non-medical causes of infertility in men. This includes various lifestyle factors that can affect fertility levels, and men who lead healthier lifestyles are far less likely to experience these problems.

 

Some non-medical causes of infertility in males

There are a number of common problems and factors that can cause infertility in males. This includes:

  • Lifestyle choices: A number of lifestyle choices can affect male fertility levels. This includes excessive drinking, smoking, poor diet, obesity, the use of anabolic steroids, and drug abuse among other things.

 

  • Vitamin deficiency: You will also find that fertility levels can be affected by certain vitamin and mineral deficiencies. This includes a lack of zinc and vitamin C, so you should make sure you get plenty of these in your diet.

 

  • Too much exercise: While exercise is an important part of leading a healthy lifestyle, exercising to excess can result in increased adrenal steroid hormones, which can have a negative impact on fertility levels.

 

  • Tight underwear: If you wear underwear that is overly tight on a regular basis, you could find that this impact on your fertility levels. This is because your tight underwear can increase the temperature of your scrotum and this in turn can decrease the production of sperm.

 

  • High stress levels: If you are suffering from high stress levels on a regular basis, you will find that your fertility levels can be affected. You therefore need to try and avoid stressful situations as much as possible if you want to minimize the risk of fertility problems.

 

  • Some environmental hazards: It is also worth bearing in mind that exposure to certain environmental hazards and pollutants can lead to a drop in fertility levels. This could include exposure to a variety of toxins such as paint, lead, mercury, and a variety of other environmental pollutants.

 

Of course, male fertility problems are not always the result of lifestyle or environmental issues, and it is therefore always important to seek advice from a medical professional in the event that you are experiencing problems. It is important for your doctor to be able to ascertain the cause of the fertility problems in order to determine the best solution. This could be anything from treatment administered by your doctor through to advice relating to lifestyle changes.

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Male Infertility: What You Need to Avoid

Male infertility is something that can affect many males and for a number of different reasons. All too often, the inability for a couple of conceive is attributed to the female but in around a third of cases it is actually a male infertility issue. Out of this third, around 90 percent of problems stem from problems with the sperm such as a low sperm count or the low quality of the sperm. There are also a number of different conditions that can cause male infertility, such as genetic or hormonal conditions.

However, it is also important to remember that there are certain lifestyle factors that can affect your fertility levels, which means that in order to reduce the chances of fertility problems there are certain things that you need to avoid. Learning more about these risk factors can help you to make more informed choice in order to minimize the chances of fertility problems.

Some of the things you need to try and avoid

Among the things you need to try and avoid in order to minimize on the risks of male fertility problems include:

  • A poor diet: A poor diet is something that can lead to you becoming overweight, and this in turn can affect your fertility levels. If you reach obesity levels you could find that your sperm count or the quality of your sperm is reduced, which in turn will affect your chances of conception with your partner.
  • Smoking: You need to avoid smoking, as it is not only very bad for your general health but could also impact on the quality of the sperm, which then reduces fertility levels and the chances of conception.
  • Heavy drinking: You will find that your sperm production levels could be affected if you drink heavily on a regular basis. You need to make sure that if you do continue drinking alcohol you should only consume it in moderation.
  • Unsafe sex: You also need to make sure you avoid engaging in unsafe sex, as if you contract certain sexually transmitted diseases you may find that your fertility levels are affected in the future when you are ready to settle down and start a family.
  • Anabolic steroids and drugs: Your sperm count, quality and production can be affected by substances such as cocaine, marijuana and anabolic steroids. You therefore need to ensure that you avoid these substances in order to reduce the risk of infertility.
  • Prolonged cycling: If you are a cycling enthusiast, you need to bear in mind that prolonged cycling can cause blood vessel damage and can result in erectile dysfunction. If you are unable to avoid long periods of cycling, you can reduce the risk by making sure you invest in a contoured or padded seat for your bicycle.

These are some factors that could impact upon your fertility levels for one reason or another, so making attempts to avoid them could also help to reduce the risk of fertility issues.

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Study of babies born post-fertility treatment shows significant improvement over past 20 years

Children born after their parents underwent Assisted Reproduction Treatment (ART) have shown significant improvements in their health outcomes. Fewer babies are now being born pre-term, with low birth weight, and stillborn or dying within the first year of life says the largest study to date investigating the health outcomes of ART babies over time.

Dr Anna-Karina Aaris Henningsen and her colleagues, from the Fertility Clinic at the Rigshospitalet, University of Copenhagen, Denmark collated the data from over 92,000 children in Denmark, Norway, Finland and Sweden born between 1988 and 2007 after ART and compared them with a control group of spontaneously conceived children.

As post-fertility techniques and methods have been refined over the decades, for example the policy of only transferring one embryo at a time in these countries. By transferring only one embryo per cycle you significantly reduce the risk of multiple pregnancies, and at the same time have a profound effect on the health of the single baby. “We observed a remarkable decline in the risk of being born pre-term or very pre-term” says Dr Henningsen. “The proportion of single ART babies born with a low or very low birth weight – less than 2500g or 1500g respectively – also decreased.”

In Sweden for example, the rate for pre-term births (that is, babies born before 37 week gestation) in the period from 1988 to 1992 was 27.9%; by the time of the 2003 to 2007 period, this had dropped to 12.8%. The rates for babies who were born small for their gestational age also halved in the same period. From 1988 to 1992 it was 7.6% compared to 3.2% in the later 2003 to 2007 cohort. Equally astonishing is that stillbirths also halved from 1% to 0.5% between 1988 to 1992 and 2003 to 2007. Deaths in the first year also fell from 2.6% to 1.2% when comparing between the two groups.

Dr Henningsen and her colleagues who conducted the study believe that the findings produce some convincing conclusions. While there has been a considerable increase in the number of ART births since 1988, this has been accompanied by a significant improvement in health outcomes for these babies. In particular for singleton (as opposed to twin) births. While many factors have been credited with this improvement, from the quality and techniques of the technicians and clinicians to improvements in the culture media, “the most important reason is the dramatic decline in multiple births due to policies of choosing to transfer only one embryo at a time”, concluded Dr Henningsen.

The full study is published online in Human Reproduction, a leading reproductive medicine journal, and an in-depth write up of the study can be found here.

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Can cutting down on caffeine help with male infertility problems?

A new study co-authored by Dr. Jorge Chavarro, Assistant Professor of Nutrition and Epidemiology at Harvard School of Public Health in Boston, suggests that drinking coffee, or other caffeinated beverages, can have serious consequences for couple who are trying to conceive. Results found that couples undergoing IVF treatment had significantly lower success rates and effected male infertility where the male drank high levels of caffeine, when compared to those couples where the male drank the least.

The study hoped to go beyond simple measurements of sperm quality (previous research has found no link between caffeine and a reduction in the measured quality of sperm) and see how lifestyle choices such as excessive coffee or alcohol consumption can affect the end result of a live pregnancy. The reason for this, says Dr. Chavarro, is to find out whether other unresearched factors, apart from simply sperm quality, have an effect on rates of pregnancy.

As part of the study 105 men, all of whom were undergoing IVF treatment with their partners at Massachusetts General Hospital, Boston, were asked about their diets prior to enrolling on the program. While overall just over half of the respondents treatments ended in pregnancy; couples in which the male drank the most coffee (defined as three or more 8-ounce cups a day) were half as likely to end in pregnancy as those couples where the male drank the least (i.e., less than one cup a day).

After adjusting the figures to account for factors such as age or obesity; the researchers still found that those males who consumed the most caffeine were, by far, the least likely to complete the IVF treatment successfully – ending with a live pregnancy just 19% of the time. This was compared to a success rate of 52% to 60% for couples where the male half of the couple drank the least caffeine.

The study does not conclude why this might be the case, although one suggestion is that drinking too much caffeine may be making men less likely to have sex with their partners. Dr. Rebecca Sokol, a professor of medicine, obstetrics and gynecology at Keck School of Medicine at University of Southern California, questioned the study’s conclusion. She points out that the study looks at only a small sample of men, from a very select population (i.e., those already undergoing fertility treatment).

Indeed the study’s lead author, Dr Anatte Karmon, an obstetrician, continues to exhort current best medical advice: “Anything that is good for your heart health is also good for your fertility. So do physical exercise and eat a well-balanced diet.” In any case, Dr. Chavarro warns against extrapolating from the results of this study too much: “As far as we are aware, this is the first time this has been reported. There needs to be a lot more replication before anyone can make a strong recommendation to patients.”

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How Lifestyle Changes Can Affect Your Fertility

You already know that living a healthy lifestyle is important to your overall health. What you may not know is that it is also very important to your fertility.

 

Several factors can affect the quality of sperm and have an impact on fertility. Poor lifestyle choices can lead to issues with fertility so it is important to take a good, hard look at your drinking, smoking, and other habits and make changes if these can potentially be a barrier to you and your partner conceiving a child.

If poor lifestyle choices are affecting your fertility, now is the time to change bad habits and start making healthy choices.

Below are some lifestyle factors that may be hampering your ability to conceive a child:

Smoking: Smoking can have a negative impact on fertility causing a decrease in the quality of your sperm. Smoking tobacco damages your sperm cells and decreases sperm size and movement. It may also negatively affect your semen. If you are trying to conceive, consider talking to your health care professional about ways to quit smoking.

Stress:   Infertility can be discouraging as well as stressful and the amount of sperm you produce may decrease if you experience excessive or prolonged periods of emotional stress. Stress can also lower your sex drive and make you less inclined to have sex further making it difficult for couples to conceive.

Obesity:  Being overweight or obese is associated with male infertility and can lead to the quality and quantity of your sperm being lowered. It is important to maintain a healthy weight, eat a balanced diet, and incorporate physical activity into your regular routine. By doing so, you can keep your sperm in good condition and increase your chances of conceiving with your partner.

Alcohol: Heavy drinking on a regular basis is harmful to sperm and can decrease sperm production. Studies have shown that men who drink heavily and regularly have lowered sperm counts and testosterone levels. Alcohol can also cause impotence by decreasing the blood flow to your penis and damaging the nervous system making it impossible to have an erection.

Drug Use: Marijuana decreases the number and quality of your sperm and decreases average sperm count as well as sperm motility and normal morphology (size and shape) of sperm. Some studies have concluded that marijuana use has a more negative impact on sperm production than other lifestyle choices such as smoking and drinking. Cocaine has been known to have a significant impact on fertility. Regular use of cocaine can lower sperm counts, motility, and leads to a substantial increase in the amount of abnormal sperm. Anabolic Steroid use is pervasive in our culture and can have long lasting effects on male fertility. Steroids severely damage the sperm and the sperm that is produced is much less active than normal. Even more troubling is that sperm production is virtually stopped when using steroids, making it impossible for users to get their partners pregnant.

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New health directives as of 3/17/2020

Be advised that with the new health directives as of 3/17/2020, we WILL remain open, as medical offices are exempt from forced closure. We will see anyone who wants or needs to be seen who is not sick with cough or with a fever. The office will likely not be crowded and we will practice all CDC guidelines requiring social distancing, hand washing, etc. If the situation changes we will update this site.

In certain cases we can offer telemedicine/phone consults depending on the condition.