Girl Talk: How reproductive health impacts everyone

Yesterday, The Partnership for Baylor College of Medicine hosted an educational luncheon called “Girl Talk” which explored issues of reproductive health and infertility—and despite the name of the event, it was clear that these topics affect both females and males.

Dr. Dolores Lamb
Dr. Dolores Lamb

The event hosted Dr. Dolores Lamb, director of BCM’s Center for Reproductive Medicine and the Lester and Sue Smith Chair in Urologic Research, and Dr. William Gibbons, professor of Obstetrics and Gynecology at BCM and a BCM alum himself.

Lamb explained how the breadth of reproductive medicines consists of more than just infertility—it affects us throughout our lifespans.

These issues range from high-risk pregnancies to health problems during puberty, infertility, sexual dysfunction, and many other issues that affect many more areas of health than we may realize.

Infertility and men

“The male side of the equation is the ‘forgotten partner’ in infertile couples,” Lamb said.

Causes of male infertility include failure of testis descent (a birth defect), immunologic causes, and more. Actually, one-quarter to one-half of infertile males’ diagnosis of infertility are classified as “unexplained.”

She said that in more than 50 percent of infertile couples who present for evaluation, the male has a contributing factor.

Lamb says males should consider getting evaluated—it’s noninvasive and rapid—especially since 2.5 million American men are infertile.

How good health affects reproductive health

Dr. William Gibbons
Dr. William Gibbons

Gibbons said that actions we can take to ensure good reproductive health include:

  • Getting immunized against sexually transmitted diseases
  • Practicing and promoting safe sex
  • Understanding the negative impacts of smoking on reproductive health
  • Maintaining a healthy diet, as healthy eating affects both reproduction and the baby’s health

Fast facts about infertility

Facts about infertility were provided in a presentation from the National Institutes of Health, as a supplement to the event, including:

  • Causes of infertility: Health problems, lifestyle factors, environmental exposures, among other factors, can cause infertility.
  • Statistics: Reports suggest that about 12 percent of women, aged 15-44 in the United States have trouble getting or staying pregnant.
  • Common treatments: Infertility treatments may be based on the underlying cause of the problem; if the problem is unidentified, then some evidence-based treatments that improve fertility may be recommended. Treatments include drugs that stimulate ovulation, surgery to repair anatomic abnormalities, use of medical procedures to deliver sperm to the woman, fertilization of the egg in a lab, and using a third party to donate sperm or eggs and/or delivering the baby.

Read more about the Partnership and check out future educational events on their calendar.

Questions about fertility or reproductive health? Call the obstetrics and gynecology department at 713-798-7500.

-By Jordan Magaziner

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