The Shocking Truth About Male Infertility

Somehow, most of us missed a lesson as we learned about infertility through our social circles, google doc, and even many medical offices. I cannot tell you how many of my patients don't know this fact- when a couple is dealing with infertility of unknown cause (ie before any workup has been done), it is just as likely that the man is infertile as it is that the woman is infertile.

Today, as infertility rates in the United States continue to rise, 1/3 of all infertility is due to males, 1/3 due to females, and 1/3 due to a combined factor infertility. Yet, most of the patients that come into my office dealing with infertility are women, and most of them don't come in with their male partners. I am not blaming the man, here. Our culture, even your doctor in some scenarios, has been telling you that your contribution doesn't matter as much, but I am here to tell you otherwise and change your mind.

Look at your combined fertility in a glass of water. When the glass overflows, you become pregnant, but not until then. In so many situations, I see the woman dealing with her 1/2 of the glass, trying to fill it past full, while the man's half of the glass sits there stagnant. No one told him that he has control over the quality and and quantity of his sperm. Sperm counts, motility, forward movement, and morphology can ALL change for the better with treatment. What I have seen is that even if a man's sperm count or quality is poor, treatments are often done on the woman just to try and "overflow the glass". Sometimes, it works. Sometimes, it doesn't. Sometimes, it is a pretty large cost to the woman that could have been avoided.

The bottom line is this. If you're trying to get pregnant, there are two pieces that need to come together to make it work- an egg, and a sperm. Both equally effect the health of the pregnancy and embryo. Each make an equal difference as to whether a pregnancy is actually possible between two people. Thus, the greatest chance of getting pregnant is is both male and female counterparts are working on their health- besides the obvious benefits of working on this kind of process together, which is something I see greatly and positively affecting the health of the couple's relationship.

If you're in a same sex relationship, the same applies for you! Whether you are using donor eggs or sperm, if you are contributing an egg or sperm, you have a chance to not only increase your chances of becoming pregnant, but to have a healthier baby.

Here's the unfortunate part. As of late, with increases in technologies like ICSI, I have seen what I consider a very disappointing attitude from some doctors. "It only takes one sperm for me to get them pregnant. I can pick it myself under the microscope and inject it into the egg I retrieved." I think that this attitude comes mostly from the fact that often, many doctors don't know what to do with issues with sperm.

Fortunately, with Naturopathic Medicine, we have lots of tools to increase male fertility. Acupuncture can also be helpful. Male fertility is important. There's a lot of talk (finally) about it in the medical community now. You'll see lots more from me on it this month.

You can take control of your health. We are here to help.

*Please see your doctor or schedule with Dr. Riegle for personalized medical advice.