Men’s Health and Fertility – Fact vs. Fiction

We’re exposing the truth to common myths about men’s health and male fertility, with the help of a TopLine MD board-certified urologist who specializes in sexual medicine, andrology, and male infertility. Dr. Daniel Martinez says “a man’s fertility is a glimpse into his overall health.”

One in every six couples struggle with infertility – which is defined as not being able to conceive after having unprotected, regular intercourse for one year.

Fiction:     Infertility only affects women.
Fact:        30% of infertility cases are related to male reproductive issues.
One-third of the time infertility is caused by male reproductive issues, one-third by female reproductive issues, and one-third by BOTH male and female issues.

Fiction:     Men will maintain the same fertility throughout their entire lives.
Fact:        Although they can remain fertile throughout their life, a man’s fertility certainly decreases with age.
Just like women, men have a body clock – however, it’s distinctly different. While most men will have the ability to conceive throughout their entire life, the quality of their sperm will start to change. Men are most fertile between the ages of 18-24, and as they get older, it takes them longer to conceive. Because we are culturally having children at a later date in life, this explains one of the reasons why infertility rates are increasing.

Fiction:     Weight does not affect fertility.
Fact:        Men who are overweight or obese are at larger risk of infertility.
People who are overweight or obese typically develop medical problems like diabetes, hypertension, or sleep apnea that cause hormonal abnormalities. Studies have also shown that men with weight issues produce lower volumes of sperm than men with healthy weight.

Fiction:     You should not seek treatment if you can’t afford costly procedures.
Fact:        There are many other treatment options to consider.
When dealing with fertility, it is important to know the different forms of treatment. While some treatment options can be more expensive than others, certain medical ailments can be covered by insurance as well as basic lifestyle changes that one can make to preserve their fertility. Other ways infertility can be treated include medicine or surgery to cure hormonal abnormalities.

Fiction:     Drug use, including alcohol and cigarettes, does not affect fertility.
Fact:        All drug use can affect a man’s fertility.
Not only can hard drugs affect your chances of infertility, but so can certain prescription drugs, as well as alcohol and cigarettes.
–  Prescription drugs can affect fertility by directly affecting the sperm or indirectly affecting other aspects of sex, like intercourse or ejaculatory functions.
–  The toxins inhaled from smoking cigarettes directly affects your sperm and causes low sperm counts.
–  Alcohol can reduce the production of quality sperm needed for a successful pregnancy.

Fiction:     Patients wanting to improve their fertility should be on testosterone replacement therapy.
Fact:        Testosterone replacement therapy can harm a man’s fertility.
Studies have shown that exogenous testosterone replacement therapy, done through injection, creams, or medications, can actually affect the testes ability to produce sperm by decreasing sperm production or in some cases shutting off completely.

Fiction:     Once you have a vasectomy, you cannot have another child.
Fact:        If a couple decides they want another baby, vasectomies can be reversed or IVF can be done.
A vasectomy is a semi-permanent procedure in which a doctor cuts or blocks the tubes that deliver the sperm from a man’s testes to his semen. If a couple decides they want to have a baby after a vasectomy, they have two different options: reverse the vasectomy with a surgical procedure that unblocks the tubes or undergo IVF treatments. IVF is performed in a laboratory and involves sperm being extracted from the testicles and manually inserted into a female egg.

Fiction:     Vasectomies cause prostate cancer and lower testosterone.
Fact:        There is no connection between vasectomies and prostate cancer or lower testosterone.
Many people believe that getting a vasectomy will increase their risk of having prostate cancer – however, studies have shown that there is no connection between the two as vasectomies do not interfere with any other functions except blocking the sperm from entering semen. They do not affect the penis and semen production or testosterone levels in any way, as testosterone is transported through the bloodstream, which does not get blocked during this procedure.

Fiction:     Vasectomy reversal is a huge surgery with a long recovery time and lots of pain.
Fact:        Vasectomy reversals are microscopic surgeries.
A vasectomy reversal is a minimally invasive, out-patient procedure that lasts up to 2 hours. The post-surgery recovery time is short and the pain and discomfort is easily manageable with pain medications.

 

About Dr. Daniel Martinez
Dr. Martinez is a fellowship-trained physician specializing in sexual medicine, andrology, and male infertility in Miami, Florida. He received his Medical Degree from Boston University School of Medicine in 2008 and continued his training at the University of South Florida Medical Center. He currently practices at Urology Specialty Care of Miami and is affiliated with Baptist Hospital of Miami. For more information about Dr. Martinez, click here!