Finding out infertility is caused by male factors can feel like a blow to a man’s ego. Dr. James Douglas always begins his consultations with the eye-opening statistic that male factors affect 40 percent of infertile couples. If you suspect a problem, let your partner know he is not alone!
As a woman, you’ve had years of practice talking with an obgyn about your body and your plans for getting pregnant. Men may need encouragement to talk, and reassurances that the decision to partner with a fertility doctor can remain private, and conversations will be as painless as possible. Make a list of friends or family that he is OK with knowing your situation. Honor that decision.
The question on every guy’s mind is usually what he’ll have to talk about with a fertility doctor.
First, Dr. Douglas will gather facts about his health history. Some causes of male infertility stem from age and lifestyle issues such as frequent use of saunas and hot tubs, chemical exposure, or smoking, drug and/or alcohol use. Previous surgeries, STDs, or genetic diseases such as CF can be red flags, too.
Next, expect to schedule a time to provide a semen sample. We’re experts in making men feel comfortable during this sometimes-awkward scenario. Remind him that the decision to move forward with fertility testing will yield almost immediate answers, as opposed to years of failed attempts to get pregnant. We have a web page dedicated to sperm health, and the specific qualities we look for in fertility testing.
In addition to sperm disorders and lifestyle factors, anatomical problems can lead to male infertility. A referral to a urologist will conclude male fertility testing.
Dr. Douglas can circumvent problems caused by sperm health or anatomical issues with artificial insemination (intrauterine insemination) and in-vitro fertilization (IVF). Advanced “space age” treatments like intracytoplasmic sperm injection (ICSI) and the use of donor sperm provide options and hope for resolving male infertility.
Dr. Douglas reminds you that while you are experiencing the enormous stress and frustration of infertility, it’s important to be supportive of each other, seek out ways to take a break from testing and infertility treatment and consider enlisting the help of a support group like RESOLVE or professional counselor.
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