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Male Factor Infertility
Aaron Spitz, MD
Center for Male Reproductive Medicine
24301 Paseo de Valencia
Laguna Hills, CA 92653

One of the least discussed men's health issues is male infertility. Most men are surprised to learn that infertility strikes men just as frequently as it strikes women and it strikes often. Unfortunately, there is a common misconception that infertility is usually the woman's problem.

Male infertility is not just a sperm problem; it may be a HEALTH problem: Most men in infertile couples consider themselves"young and healthy," and they are unlikely to be under the supervision of any other physicians for regular care. Occasionally, abnormalities in a semen analysis may be the first presenting signs of an underlying serious or life threatening disease such as testis cancer. Some conditions that initially cause poor quality semen can later cause erectile dysfunction and loss of bone and muscle mass.

The male evaluation: Men in infertile couples with possible "male factor"
infertility should ideally receive care from an urologist who is specialty trained in male reproductive medicine and surgery. The causes of male infertility are many and varied. The most common cause is a varicocele, which is a collection of varicose veins in the scrotum. The abnormal circulation in these veins causes a harmful elevation in the temperature of the testicle.

Blockages may occur at various locations along the pathway that the sperm travels. Infection or trauma can scar and block the epididymis. Hernia surgery, previous vasectomy, and cystic fibrosis can block the vas deferens. The prostate may have a cyst or stone, which blocks sperm from entering the urethra during ejaculation. In the most severe cases of male infertility, a genetic defect, a toxin, or an unidentified cause may result in no sperm being produced in the ejaculate. All of these causes are reversible or treatable with outpatient minimally invasive surgery or microsurgery.

Non-surgical therapy is aimed at restoring proper hormone balance, supplementing important amino acids such as carnitine and L-carnitine, and using anti-oxidants to combat free radicals, which are derived from toxins. Steroids play a role in treating anti-sperm antibodies.

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