Male Fertility Issues

Did you know that men are responsible for 40-50% of the 15-20% of couples that are unable to conceive.  The cause can be found in about 60% of males.  It is heartening to note that many contributing factors that cause male infertility are treatable.  

Interestingly maturation of the sperm in the semen takes 72 to 76 days.  The sperm then spend 2 to 10 days passing through the epididymis during which time they mature and become capable of swimming and penetrating the eggs.  Therefore in order to have any impact on sperm health and quality it is important to correct any lifestyle, dietary and nutritional inadequacies at least three months before conception takes place.  

Issues include:

  • Low sperm count
  • Decreased spem motility and morphology
  • Sperm agglutination (clumping)
  • Sperm DNA damage
    • If more than 20% of sperm have DNA damage there is an increased risk of infertility, impaired embryo development, three to four times higher rate of miscarriage, increase in genetic diseases and childhood cancer in the resulting children (Trenellenik 2008)
  • Impotence and ejaculatory disorders
  • Hormonal abnormalities
  • Immune and autoimmune disorders
  • Nutritional inadequacies
  • Weight
    • Being overweight can lead to subfertility and abnormal semen parameters (Hamoud et al 2008, Fertility and Sterility)
  • Paternal age
    • Incidence of Downs syndrome is related to paternal age (Fisch, Hydn et al 2003)
  • Environmental toxicity
    • A child born to a male smoker is four times to develop cancer in childhood (BMA 2004)
  • Excessive radiation exposure
  • Genitourinary infections
  • Excessive heat – spas, saunas, wetsuits, tight clothing, bike riding
  • Testicular damage – blockage of sperm transport. 

Our approach

We investigate all possible causal factors and treat accordingly using dietary, nutritional and lifestyle modifications. We feel it is paramount that men undergo full preconception investigations and care.  A thorough semen analysis and if necessary DNA fragmentation is invaluable and may avoid the couple further invasive and expensive procedures once factors are dealt with.