Thousands of men across the U.S. – and the entire western hemisphere for that matter – suffer from it, yet male infertility remains a faux pas topic among most circles. What is it about the subject that keeps people so hush-hush? And how can we shed more light on the matter to help those looking for answers? Read on to learn more.
According to a comprehensive study conducted by the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, sperm count among western men has decreased by more than half over the past 40 years. It’s now believed that up to 1 in 5 men (young men at that!) suffer from low sperm count. One in 2 are below “optimum” levels. With doomsday statistics like this, it’s no wonder it’s being called a “crisis.” However, a closer look could reveal some good news.
We mustn’t ignore the fact that sperm counts vary greatly. So much so, in fact, that the range starts as low as zero sperm per milliliter (spm) of semen and goes all the way up to more than 250 million spm. Furthermore, studies suggest that there is little, if any, gain in fertility above the 40m spm mark. So, before panicking about your results, make sure you know what they mean.
- Male infertility accounts for about half of all infertility.
- Experts admit to not really knowing what causes infertility.
- High sperm levels can drop significantly without affecting most men’s fertility.
- A count of 15m spm is referred to as “oligozzospermia,” and is likely to result in difficulties conceiving.
As the Hebrew study evidences, male sperm counts seem to increase among populations as you move east, suggesting that environmental factors are almost certainly contributing to people’s fertility rates. Other potential factors involved in one’s fertility include: stress, obesity, smoking, and more. Clearly, there is still research to be done.
The Role of Varicocele in Infertility
Varicocele is the leading cause of infertility among men. A knot of varicose veins in the testes, varicocele creates inflammation of blood that systematically heats up the testes by as much as four degrees; the temperature increase is what ultimately damages the sperm.
It’s estimated that approximately 40% of infertile men suffer from this malady. Interestingly, though, 15% of fertile men have also been diagnosed with varicocele, which means it’s not a surefire indication of infertility.
Because the same tools used to test female infertility are significantly underutilized among males, varicocele often goes undiagnosed. If you’ve experienced concerning symptoms, don’t wait to visit your doctor. Be on the lookout for: sharp pain that increases when you stand or physically exert yourself, relief when you lie down, and/or impaired infertility.
Learn More About Male Infertility by Contacting Our Boca Raton Infertility & IVF Center
If you and your spouse or significant other have been trying to conceive with no success, don’t lose hope. At Palm Beach Fertility Center, we’ve found fertility solutions for countless couples – we’re here to do the same for you.
We’d love to be a part of your journey to parenthood. Call us today at (888) 819-5177, or request an appointment online.