Are you trying to start a family? Did you know that infertility affects approximately 1 out of every 12 couples?
- 30% of the time there is a male factor identified, and the female is "without issue."
- 50% of the time there is a female factor identified, and the male is "normal."
- And 20% of the time both the male and female have an identifiable problem.
If a couple is concerned about their fertility, it is very important that both the male and female get evaluated by a physician. Keep in mind that a semen sample alone may not be a sufficient test to evaluate a man’s factor of infertility. This type of test can miss significant problems such as testicular cancer. An urologist specializing in male infertility should be seen to explore any issues that could exist with a man’s fertility.
Similarly, it is not sufficient to say that women should be evaluated after the man has his evaluation, simply because the male evaluation process is easier. This can miss the 20% of couples who will identify an issue in both the male and female. Both partners should be evaluated simultaneously.
Traditional teaching suggests that testing should start after one year of unprotected intercourse that doesn’t result in a pregnancy. However, with more and more couples deciding to attempt to conceive when they are older, I suggest testing whenever the couple becomes concerned about their chances of becoming pregnant. It's better to get tested early than to delay testing and find out that your chances of achieving a pregnancy are less due to age related issues.
Dispelling Common Male Infertility Myths
- Myth: Tobacco does not affect fertility.
- Fact: Smoking can increase the chances of male infertility. Cutting out cigarettes can help your overall health and fertility.
- Myth: Testicular temperature doesn't matter.
- Fact: Sources of "wet heat" such as saunas, hot tubs and whirlpools can impair semen quality. Even one exposure can affect a man's sperm for up to 3 months. Men should avoid "wet heat."
- Myth: Drinking alcohol affects male fertility.
- Fact: Moderate alcohol consumption does not affect semen quality. However, heavy alcohol consumption should be avoided.