Thursday, January 08, 2015

Infertile men have a higher risk of having medical problems

A new study has found that male infertility due to poor semen quality might be associated with certain medical conditions such as peripheral artery disease, hypertension, non-ischemic heart disease, cerebrovascular disease and endocrine and skin disorders.

Dr. Michael Eisenberg from California’s Stanford University School of Medicine and his research team have found that there is a direct connection between poor quality semen and certain disorders of the circulatory system. This is probably the first study that shows this connection. A large number of men suffer from hypertension and this particular correlation is an important find in the context of male infertility.

The Study

As a patient, you may find some of these concepts a little complex, but it is important to understand the relationship between male fertility and your health . This study was conducted from 1994-2011 and 9,837 men in the average age range of 38 years were part of the study group. The researchers assessed their semen motility, concentration and volume.

In almost 50% of the men, it was found that poor semen quality was the cause of their infertility. The researchers also compared the occurrence of different health problems amongst men in the study group ( who had semen abnormalities), versus the control group ( men whose semen analysis was normal, who had female factor infertility).

The Findings

It was found that the greater the number of semen abnormalities , the greater their chances of them having other medical conditions. Previous research has shown that smoking, cancer and obesity can impact fertility. Now, researchers want to know which other conditions are linked with trends in the production of sperm. This study suggests that the condition of a man’s sperm is a very strong surrogate-marker of his overall health.

Some Hard Facts

Though there is some fog surrounding this particular theory, here are some simple facts for you-Approximately 15% of genes that exist in the human genome are connected to reproduction; a majority of these genes also play a role in various systems in the body.

Dr. Michael Eisenberg and his team are planning on investigating this particular theory further. Though not many Indian men are aware or willing to accept this, in almost 40% of couples who come in for IVF treatment, the male partner is the sole/contributing cause of infertility.

Accessing Overall Health

In simple words, what this means is even as IVF doctors treat male infertility, they should also access the overall health of their patients. While the infertility treatment will help patients attain fatherhood, their visit/s to the fertility clinic should be looked upon as an opportunity to improve treatment for other medical problems as well . 

While treating the low sperm count will not improve their health, it's possible that improving their health can help to improve their low sperm count. However , this is not a simple cause and effect relationship.  It's not that the infertility causes the medical problems - rather, it's an underlying metabolic dysfunction which is responsible for causing both the low sperm count and the medical illnesses. A similar relationship is seen between erectile dysfunction and heart disease.
Complex Workings

As you can see, it is a catch22 situation of sorts, but then the human body is very complex ; and it is not so difficult to believe that there is a correlation between health and fertility. 

One needs to get to the root of the problem rather than focusing on the symptoms alone. For any infertility-related information, you can contact me via this online form, so that I can guide you in a better way!


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