Based on our free webinar “The Top 10 Things Men Need to Know About Their Fertility” we publish this article with main things that were discussed.
Couples navigating fertility treatment together embark on a long road with many stops along the way: embryology, donor and surrogacy testing, legal processes, etc., etc. One of these that often gets overlooked, though, is the male contribution to fertility.
According to Dr. Oleksandr Tarasenko, Adonis Medical Group’s leading urologist and andrologist, many couples make the mistake of neglecting the male side of fertility. One great way to mitigate risk and increase the chances of success is to consult a urology specialist.
There are some things that couples should be aware of while they are preparing for pregnancy, whether it is a regular pregnancy or through IVF or surrogacy program. There are some things that families should start thinking about from the malefactor of fertility.
Typically when a couple decides to create a family they are not thinking of doing any fertilities exams. But the doctor advises that it would be very good for a woman to go for a consultation with a gynecologist to do a check-up, and for a man, it is important to do a basic sperm analysis at least (to check 3 parameters: quantity of semen, motility and morphology).
If the couple is trying to have a baby and did not succeed during one year, it is already a reason to do a check-up with a urologist.
- The key “male” factors to consider in preparation for the pregnancy (for both IVF and surrogacy)
- First of all, the important factor is not so much the quantity, but the volume of sperm cells. The range of the good volume is ~1.5-2 ml.
- The next parameter is the concentration of the spermatozoids per milliliter. The normal range is 15-20 million sperm cells per milliliter.
- The next important thing is the parameter about motility. Spermatozoids are being graded into different qualities. The top quality is grade A, the medium one is a grade B. So the combination of A and B should be at least 50% total.
- The anatomy of the spermatozoid itself also is an important parameter. It is a morphology factor. So at least 30% should be within a norm, without abnormalities.
2. How to read a sperm analysis report and what are the factors that can lead to those deviations?
So even if you have 1 of those parameters not within a normal range, it is already an indication to have a consultation with a urologist.
Some of the obvious factors are: smoking, alcohol, radiation of any kind, access to gasoline or oil products or other chemicals, or you have work connected to local testicles overheating (like sauna, hot tubes, etc.)
One more out of the most common factors is varicosely. It could be detected even visually, so it is important to pay attention to it. It is an extension of blood vessels within the testicle, the same as some people have varicose veins in the legs.
It is something that can be noticed in younger ages starting from 6-8 y.o.
It is important to know since the level of infertility of a couple is growing. And the level of a male factor of infertility is as high as 50%.
This is happening because the living conditions now are not getting better and the ecology is getting worse, the huge impact of chemicals in water and food. So we need to pay attention to these factors as well.
3. What the man should think before going to sperm collection?
Of course, before the collection, you need to wash all of the parts of the testicle and during the process of ejaculation do not lose any drop especially the first. If you missed the first drop, it is better to do another attempt later on.
As one more important recommendation is to abstain from sex contacts for 2-5 days before semen collection.
4. If and how long for sperm should be cryopreserved ahead of time?
Yes, even if you have a child already or you do not know yet if you want to have a child in the future. It is better to have sperm preserved. You never know what will one your health condition in the future.
It is a good precautionary measure to be done.
Also, we advise doing cryopreserve sperm if you consider vasectomy just in case.
Between 18 to 30 y.o is the best age to preserve sperm.
5. How long sperm can be stored for?
There is no limit to how long you can preserve a sperm.
6. What factors might affect male fertility?
Before collection no hot tubes or bath, no antibiotics for at least the last 2 weeks, also need to wait 2 weeks after infection or fever.
Other factors like x-ray or having a flight, it is not the best to have before the collection, but not so critical, since there will be always a second control collection in few weeks.
We also suggest even if you have no issues it is still a good idea to do a consultation with a urologist, perhaps to take a set of vitamins, antioxidants, etc to have as many chances as possible.
This kind of check-up is also good not only to check your fertility but also is a powerful analysis during which other life-threatening diseases can be detected, including infectious or inflammation process or cancers, etc.
We advise you to do it regularly and ahead of time.
The important thing to understand even if your sperm is empty it does not mean you are infertile, there are other methods to get your own spermatozoids.
7. What is TESE/TESA/MESA, when it is recommended, and how it affects your fertility?
All of these methods are used in case of missing sperm conditions, it just depends on the type.
TESA – aspiration; TESE – extraction ; MESA – micro sperm aspiration; Micro TERE – microextraction under microscope.
So the doctor chooses which is better to do in the particular case.
Most commonly used are TESA or micro TESE.
8. Possible treatment plans and methods
The most difficult is not a treatment but the diagnostics of why the patient has the condition that causes infertility.
The variety of reasons are huge: infectious diseases, genetics, etc.
9. How COVID impacts male fertility and how to minimize its impact?
If we talk about COVID as an infection so you had a fever during it will impact your sperm quality. There can be also problems with blood tombs that can block blood flow to organs including testicles.
So all of that for sure can have an impact on your fertility for the next 3-6 months because the time of spermatogenesis is 72 days (when a new sperm cell is being born).
10. How to prevent infertility (for yourselves and your children).
Keep a healthy lifestyle: healthy food, be active and do regular checkups.
You can watch the full recording of the webinar here:
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