Sperm Stories, Part II

In Part I of Sperm Stories, we talked about how temperature—both cold and hot—affects sperm production, swimming speed, and quality. In this article, we’ll take a look at several recent studies explore non-temperature-related factors. Turn off the tube. Men who watch 20 hours or more of TV have half the sperm count of men who […]

Sperm Stories, Part I

No one is quite sure why, but over the past few decades, there has been a major decline in the quality of men’s semen (the fluid that contains the sperm) and fertility rates throughout the industrialized world. As you might expect, there’s no shortage of theories, explanations, and proposed solutions. In this article, we’ll look […]

The connection between fish and fertility

It used to be that infertility was considered a “female problem.” But over the past decade or so we’ve discovered that it’s a “female problem” about 40 percent of the time, a “male problem” 40 percent, and unexplained 20 percent.

When it comes to male infertility, we know that obesity, smoking, alcohol use, and hot tubs can lower sperm count and deform some of the ones that survive. But researchers just found out that a man’s diet can have a big effect too.

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No Hopping in the Sack Just Yet Dad to Be

Dear Readers: In last week’s column, we heard from a woman who, was planning to get pregnant. We talked about a number of important steps she should take before actively trying to conceive. Even though she’s the one who’ll be carrying the baby, there’s plenty that the dad-to-be can do to increase fertility and up the odds of a healthy pregnancy.

So dad–your goal is to prepare a healthy environment for the baby to swim around in, and to prevent birth defects or other complications, right? But you never know when your partner is going to burst out of the bathroom waving a little white stick, and announce, “Honey, I’m pregnant!”
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Give Yourself a Hand

Dear Mr. Dad: My wife and I have been trying to conceive for nine months and our fertility doctor is suggesting that we consider IVF (in-vitro fertilization). Step one is for me to bring in a sperm sample for analysis. What are they analyzing? Frankly, I find the idea of producing a sample on demand rather embarrassing. And the way a friend described the process—dingy bathroom with a few sticky porn magazines—was really of off-putting. Isn’t there some other way to get semen out of me than the usual?

A: Let’s start with your second question. The one-word answer is, Yes. There are other ways. But they’re extremely expensive and not nearly as fun. The two most common techniques are called “testicular sperm extraction” (TESE) and “microsurgical epididymal sperm aspiration” (MESA). Both involve making incisions in the scrotum and testicles, and either manually removing sperm cells or actually cutting away a small piece of testicular tissue. (I’ll bet just reading that last sentence probably made most male readers involuntarily grab their crotch.)
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