Nearly 40% of infertility cases involve men, but many are treatable
CALGARY, June 11, 2013 /CNW/ - Infertility is commonly perceived as a woman's issue, yet many cases involve male factors. With advances in treatment, many male-factor cases are now treatable.
"There's a common misperception that infertility is only a woman's issue, yet infertility is prevalent among men," says Dr. Cal Greene, Director of the Regional Fertility Program in Calgary. "Male-factor infertility used to be a much bigger challenge than it is today. Now men once considered infertile can father pregnancies using the assisted reproductive technologies."
This Father's Day, Generations of Hope, an Alberta organization that advocates for those facing infertility, is urging men experiencing fertility challenges to not delay seeking treatment and is getting out the message that there is hope. Since a woman's fertility declines with age, delay in receiving treatment can decrease a couple's chances of conception.
In men previously diagnosed as having no sperm, a method of testicular biopsy may allow for the precise removal of testicular tissue in areas of active sperm production. Many male-factor infertility cases can be resolved through safe, effective treatment, with intracytoplasmic sperm injection, better known as ICSI, often being used. While many male-factor cases are treatable, cost at approximately ten to twelve thousand dollars per treatment cycle is a common barrier to timely treatment. Male fertility does not decrease significantly with age, sperm quality and the risk of genetic disorders in men gradually increases after age 40 years.
When 30-year-old Trevor Stoklosa of Edmonton tried to start a family with his 28-year-old wife Alisha, he was told that low testosterone and the shape of his sperm prevented him from conceiving naturally. "I went through a rollercoaster of emotions," he recalls. "It was a little embarrassing. It makes you feel like you're not a full man." The situation worsened when he discovered the recommended treatment of IVF in conjunction with ICSI - while providing a 50 to 70 per cent chance of conception - would cost $12,000. "When we heard the news, my partner and I were both absolutely devastated. The money factor is huge. We don't have money for this kind of treatment."
Male-factor infertility is usually a condition a man is born with. Other causes include: varicoceles - swelling of veins in the testicle; infection - including sexually transmitted diseases; and retrograde ejaculation - when semen is redirected into the bladder: cancer treatment, obesity and injuries to the testicles.
The following requirements must be in place for a man to be fertile: A man must produce sperm. Sperm must be carried into the semen. Sperm quantity must be adequate including the shape and motility - meaning the ability to move - must be normal.
"Men wanting to have children shouldn't wait," recommends Dr. Greene. "A man's age plays a role in determining the baby's health outcome. Under 40 is ideal."
Generations of Hope is actively petitioning the Alberta Government, having attracted over 17,000 signatures, to publically fund treatment for the one in six Alberta couples suffering from infertility. To find out more or to sign their Petition, please visit generationsofhope.ca.
Male Fertility Facts
- Both men and women experience infertility. Approximately 40% of all fertility cases involve men.
- Cancer treatments impact male fertility. Freezing sperm before treatment should be considered.
- Strenuous bicycle riding and excessive heat, such as hot tubs and laptops, can affect fertility.
- You can get pregnant up to three days after intercourse. Sperm can live in a woman's body for approximately 72 hours.
Male Fertility Myths
- A man's age does not affect childbearing. False: Sperm counts and the quality of the sperm slowly declines with age.
- Daily intercourse is recommended to increase the chance of conception. False: Waiting two days between intercourse allows men to increase their sperm count.
- Eating red meat reduces fertility. False, but a healthy diet and weight do correlate.
About Generations of Hope (GOH)
GOH is a non-profit organization devoted to raising awareness of infertility and helping couples struggling with infertility attain their dream of a family. Through the Generations of Hope Fertility Assistance Fund, families for whom IVF treatment is a challenging financial option can receive assistance for treatment at the Regional Fertility Program. Since 1985, there have been nearly 11,500 IVF births through the program in Calgary.
Image with caption: "Father's Day Fertility Facts: Nearly half of all infertility cases involve men, but nearly all male-factor cases are treatable (CNW Group/Generations of Hope)". Image available at: http://photos.newswire.ca/images/download/20130611_C7201_PHOTO_EN_27884.jpg
SOURCE: Generations of Hope
For further information:
and to speak to Dr. Cal Greene, Director of the Regional Fertility Program in Calgary, Tim Halpen, President of Generations of Hope, or Trevor Stoklosa, please contact: