Infertility is not just a woman’s issue. Forty percent of infertility patients experience male factor infertility, such as sperm production disorders, structural abnormalities, ejaculatory disturbances and immunologic disorders, according to the American Society of Reproductive Medicine (ASRM).
And yet many men hesitate to be tested because they feel that it is “weird” or unnatural, or “there’s no way I can have a problem with my sperm.” But like women’s infertility, it is impossible to know without seeing a specialist who conducts diagnostic testing.
Infertility is a team sport for both members of a couple. At Reproductive Medicine Associates of Connecticut (RMACT), our diagnostic testing includes an extremely thorough fertility evaluation for our female patients, as well as checking a semen analysis from each of our male patients. It is important for patients to tackle fertility problems together – both medically and emotionally.
As one of our RMACT patients put it: “Just do the testing.” Robert S., a patient of Dr. Hurwitz who now has a four-year old daughter and is expecting a second child, explains there was an emotional benefit to sharing the infertility diagnosis. He says: “Both of our feet were in this pool together and I wasn’t watching from the outside. That helped a lot because I [knew] that I may not have been able to make it work had it not been for the help of RMACT.”
The good news is that men can improve the quality and quantity of their sperm in about three months through lifestyle changes such as improved diet and minimizing or eliminating habits such as excess alcohol consumption and smoking. Basic sperm formation takes about 74 days and an additional 12 to 21 days for the sperm to mature.
When these steps are not enough, there is medical intervention. Intra-Uterine Insemination (IUI) is a simple and non-invasive procedure for mild and moderate sperm problems, and if needed, Intracytoplasmic Sperm Injection (ICSI) is used to treat severe forms of male infertility, particularly when there is a concern about the sperm’s ability to fertilize an egg. ICSI is used in conjunction with in vitro fertilization (IVF).
Male infertility can be overcome when working with a fertility specialist, giving couples an opportunity to start or build the family of their dreams.
Dr. Hurwitz is a board-certified reproductive endocrinologist and partner at Reproductive Medicine Associates of Connecticut (www.RMACT.com), which has offices in Stamford, Norwalk, Danbury and Trumbull. In addition to his work with patients, he is Division Director of Reproductive Endocrinology and Infertility (REI) services in the Department of Obstetrics, Gynecology and Reproductive Sciences of Danbury Hospital. Dr. Hurwitz has been recognized with numerous awards, including Castle Connolly Top Doctor of Fairfield County.
To contact Dr. Joshua M. Hurwitz, please call 800-865-5431 or go to www.rmact.com.