Looking to create or expand your family, but feel like it’s taking longer than you had hoped? Many couples experiencing infertility issues may assume that the issue naturally has to do with the woman who’s trying to get pregnant, but Dr. Larry Lipshultz, chief of the Division of Male Reproductive Medicine and Surgery and professor of urology at Baylor College of Medicine, says that’s not true.
Lipshultz explains how fertility issues could affect anyone, and debunks some other top myths about male infertility.
Myth #1: The problem is always with the woman.
Many women have an established relationship with their gynecologist, and the gynecologist is usually the physician to evaluate the couple initially. Often, the male isn’t evaluated until after the female is well underway in her infertility evaluation and treatments. There’s a misconception that if there’s a fertility issue, it’s usually the woman.
The truth is that about 50 percent of infertile couples have a male component; 20 percent have purely a male factor and 30 percent of couples will have both male and female contributions to infertility.
Myth #2: Fertility isn’t linked to overall health.
Male infertility can be associated with significant underlying health issues. For example, infertile men are at higher risk for certain types of cancer and cardiovascular disease. After childhood, many men have no regular physician visits until much later in life.
Addressing male fertility is an opportunity for these men to assess not only their reproductive health, but also their overall health in general with an emphasis on preventative medicine.
Myth #3: Infertility and impotency are the same condition.
The terms infertility and impotence are sometimes confused, but represent different conditions. Infertility refers to the inability to reproduce, whereas impotence refers to sexual dysfunction, specifically an inability to achieve adequate erections.
Myth #4: It’s possible to see how fertile a man is by looking at his semen.
It’s not possible to see how fertile a man is by looking at his semen, as sperm are visible only under a microscope. To assess sperm quality, the man will need to see a specialist for evaluation. The evaluation is not invasive, expensive or painful.
Another misconception is that a man has normal fertility potential simply because an evaluation shows numerous moving sperm on a semen analysis. In fact, specialists often employ further tests to determine the fertility potential of what appear to be healthy sperm on a regular semen analysis.
Have questions about fertility? Make an appointment today.
-By Jordan Magaziner