Infertility Can Be Deadly

Infertility isn’t something that most guys think a lot about–especially since hundreds of studies have shown that on average, being a dad is good for men. It often makes us more mature, more tolerant of others, gives us a chance to be a kid again, makes us cut back on irresponsible behavior that might land us in jail, often gets us to pay a little more attention to our health, and for some men, it gives life meaning. But what about not being a dad—whether by choice or because of a medical issue? Turns out that infertility has some extremely negative side effects for men.
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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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