Exploring Infertility Myths: Infertility Only Affects Women

It is more accurate to state infertility is a condition that affects couples. Nationally 15% to 20% of couples trying to conceive will have difficulty. Female causes are found in 40% of couples while male factors are detected in 30% to 40% of men. In the remaining 20 % to 25%, we diagnose a combination of different factors. At West Coast Fertility Centers (WCFC), we offer three simple tests for the man and woman to determine the factors contributing to infertility.

The belief that men do not contribute to a couple's infertility problems is one of "mythical" proportions. Sperm production is a complex function occurring under special hormonal and environmental conditions. Problems may be threefold: (1) sperm production; (2) the transport process; and, (3) the motility percentage. While just one sperm reaches the egg, millions are needed so that only a few can approach the target egg cell.

The diagnosis of male factor starts with a well-timed semen panel to evaluate at least ten parameters. The test results are best reviewed by a fertility specialist along with an Andrologist. Male patients often believe that vitamins or supplements can improve fertility, but special diets, vitamins and supplements play a minimal role. Avoiding smoking and excessive drinking may be a more useful lifestyle choice. We also advise avoiding prolonged exposure to high temperatures to the genital organs. If severe male factor is diagnosed, a laboratory procedure called ICSI is recommended where a single healthy sperm is injected into the egg.

 

Recommendation: It is counterproductive for couples to assign blame to one another. A suggested plan is to have basic testing with a fertility specialist following one year of unprotected intercourse.

Level One Testing consists of the following tests for both male & female…

1. OVARIES & EGGS: Female hormone testing of FSH, LH, E2, TSH between cycle day 3-5

2. UTERUS & TUBES: HSG (Hysterosalpingogram) on cycle day 7-14. A tubal patency test is used to determine if the fallopian tubes are open. An x-ray dye test provides documentation of the uterine anatomy and the status of the fallopian tubes.

3. SEMEN & SPERM: Sperm analysis after 3-4 day of abstinence. Male testing for Amount, Count, Motility, Speed and Shape

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