What to know about male infertility

Dr. Jennifer Ashton discusses what to know about male infertility, which is a factor in approximately 35% of couples struggling to conceive.
4:23 | 04/23/19

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Transcript for What to know about male infertility
We will turn to our series for national infertility week and this morning, male infertility. The assumption is often that it's the woman's issue. The man's role is rarely talked about and the stigma doesn't help either. One couple wants everyone to know, though, it's okay to talk to people and okay to rely on friends and really okay to seek help. She was born December 21st, 2018 at 1:12:00 A.M. Reporter: But for this couple the road has been emotional and at times painful and expensive ten-year journey. We spent easily $150,000 over the last ten years trying everything you can to conceive. Reporter: They started trying for a baby item after they got married without success then doctors discovered Candace had multiple fibroids, noncan rouse growths in the uterus. It was very scary, maybe that was what was causing us to not be able to have children. When the doctor said they weren't in a place that was prohibiting a pregnancy her doctor said, you know what, let's have Tim checked out. What I had was called poor motility and more, poor mobility. Reporter: Timothy had surgery to improve his fertility by improving blood flow to the area. It wasn't successful. Both the man and woman are contributing factors. In 8% a male factor is the only recognizable cause. The couple would go through two failed fertility treatments and one failed round of ivf. I went in and got my blood test done ten days after the transfer and I found out that both of the embryos implanted but stopped growing at some point. Reporter: Their second treatment brought the miracle they had been waiting for. When we first got married I heard the name victory, that's such a beautiful name then after a ten-year struggle, the name has so much more meaning because it's literally a victory after everything we've gone through. We've got our sweet victory. Congratulations to the they still have two frozen embryos so once she's fully healed they plan to try again and hopefully have another sibling or two for little victory. That would be great. Jen Ashton is back. Happy birthday. Thank you. The story, happy ending but an eye opener for a lot. As juju said, in our field reproductive health, ob/gyn, inferlt, the focus always tends to be on the woman but we cite this, male factor infertility as occurring 30% to 40% of the time and have to remember that while the focus is usually on the woman we have to look at the man as well. So what are the signs to look for. You know what's interesting, right now sperm health is actually looked at as a biomarker, a window into overall male health which is relatively new. There are some clues it could be male factor. Number one, loss of body hair in the man, croonic severe illnesses all over the body, also have the ability to affect sperm, a history of drug use and or smoking. Bad for the lungs and the rest of the body and steroid or testosterone use, good for muscles possibly. How about age? Age is a factor. Again, men obviously as we know, their sperm can work up to their 60s, 70s and 80s but an effect on the male factor and see a slightly increased risk of schizophrenia and autism of the offspring born to older dads. One of the things we wanted to do is erase stigma around this. We hear about how fertility is thought of it makes a woman a woman. That's not true. Men can go through the same stigma and think if something is wrong with my sperm it makes me less of a man. This is obviously not the case and need to increase awares. I want to thank my mom for giving birth to me.

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