Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Male Factor Infertility

Male infertility

When a couple has been trying to get pregnant for a long time, the partners often try to figure out the reason for their lack of success. Statistically, the reason involves male infertility about one third of the time, female infertility about one third of the time, and a combination of male and female infertility factors the remaining one third of the time. Consulting with a Reproductive Endocrinology and Infertility expert can significantly help to determine the range of causes and develop an infertility treatment plan.

Male infertility can be due to difficulty in completing intercourse, an inability of the sperm to live within the female reproductive tract long enough to fertilize the egg within the fallopian tube, or a problem with the production of normal sperm.

Difficulty with completing intercourse can be due to an erectile or an ejaculatory problem. Sometimes these problems can be effectively treated with medication. When treatment is not possible, but the man is able to produce a semen sample into a container, then intrauterine inseminations (IUI) that are timed at ovulation are often effective.

The sperm normally fertilizes the egg within the woman’s fallopian tube. There is usually a tremendous decrease in the number of motile sperm along this journey from the initial placement within the vagina (where sperm is usually destroyed within about one hour due to a difference in acidity between the semen fluid and the vaginal vault) to residing within the uterine cervical mucus (where sperm can usually survive comfortably for several days) to passage through the uterus and into the fallopian tube. Generally, it is estimated that if 50 million sperm are placed within the vaginal vault during intercourse only a few thousand of these sperm ever reach the fallopian tube, where they have a chance to fertilize the egg. When this type of male factor is a cause of infertility, then IUI (intrauterine insemination) procedures to place the sperm near the egg at the time of ovulation can be helpful.

The semen analysis is the most common test to determine whether normal sperm are being produced. The major variables that are tested include volume (amount of semen in the ejaculate), concentration (number of sperm per unit volume of semen), motility (percent of sperm that are moving), and morphology (shape of the sperm present). When these numbers fall within the normal range for semen analysis, the sperm is thought to be “good.” But really only a history of proven fertility, such as having achieved a pregnancy with someone in the past or having fertilization at IVF (in vitro fertilization), demonstrates that the sperm is actually capable of fertilizing a human egg. For most mild to moderate male infertility problems involving the production of normal sperm, IUI (intrauterine insemination) is a reasonable treatment alternative. If there is a severe male infertility problem with the sperm, then ICSI (intracytoplasmic sperm injection, which is a form of assisted fertilization) or the use of donor sperm may need to be considered.

Dr. Eric Daiter at The NJ Center for Fertility and Reproductive Medicine, LLC has extensive experience with male infertility and has personally performed thousands of semen analyses. He would be happy to help you. For an appointment to discuss your situation with Dr. Daiter, please call the office at 908 226 0250. Visit us on the web at

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Tuesday, April 1, 2008

New Male Infertility Testing

The University of Virginia has been conducting research on the development of a post-vasectomy sterility test for men, and SpermCheck is one of the many products adapted from that technological research by John C. Herr, of UVA’s Center for Research in Contraceptive and Reproductive Health. The technology has been licensed and patented by the University of Virginia, and though many have attempted to create such a home test, SpermCheck stands out because it is the first to achieve FDA approval.

It is the result of years of clinical chemistry and scientific research according to Dr. Herr who collaborated with Dr. Stuart Howards and Charles Flickinger. The idea is similar to that of a home pregnancy test for women. SpermCheck is the first diagnostic home test with the ability to accurately detect low sperm count, largely targeting post vasectomy men. Previously, men were required to return to a physician or specialist after a vasectomy in order to confirm a drop in sperm count. With SpermCheck, these men will have the option of home testing to confirm sub-fertile sperm counts, saving time and money.

Out of the hundreds of thousands of men who undergo vasectomies, approximately one percent will experience recanalization. It is actually possible for the vas deferens to spontaneously heal, thus rendering the vasectomy ineffective. Though this is a real possibility, most men do not continue regular check-ups with a physician in order to prevent the risk of pregnancy especially because the risk of recanalization is much higher in the first month following the procedure. This is another useful application for SpermCheck, providing men with an easy, at home method of testing their sperm count in order monitor the risk of pregnancy.

Pure curiosity about male infertility is another important application for SpermCheck. For pre-marriage and fatherhood men, SpermCheck will provide a simple solution for analyzing their sperm count, establishing the future possibility of fathering children. This may help couples to make decisions about their future, bringing more awareness to the possibility of impotence. This kind of awareness can serve to reduce the psychological stress of male infertility, giving men an easy method of determining the possibility of fatherhood earlier in life.

The University of Virginia and John Herr are very excited to see 20 years of research result in an actual product on the market. It is the first time for the biology department of UVA to experience such an accomplishment. This simple test for scientific knowledge will truly serve the public good by preventing unwanted pregnancy by a failed vasectomy and easily bringing new reproductive awareness to men.

About the Author: Eric Daiter has been sponsored by The NJ Center for Fertility and Reproductive Medicine, LLC, a leading expert in female and male infertility. For more information, please visit

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