Doctors say male factor infertility is on the rise in the United States

Infertility Awareness Week intended to remove stigma from medical issue

SAN ANTONIO – It is Infertility Awareness Week and the issue of infertility affects one in eight couples.

Over the past couple of years, doctors are noticing a rise in male factor infertility as one-third of infertility problems can be attributed to low sperm count.

“I think that part of it is that we are identifying it more for sure,” Aspire Fertility San Antonio Dr. Ursula Balthazar said. “There are also some environmental things that can be contributing to the increased abnormalities that we’re seeing in semen analysis.”

Those environmental factors can be obesity, smoking cigarettes or marijuana and testosterone treatments.

“One of the things that I don’t think people talk about is that testosterone, when given as a replacement at a too high level, can actually prevent sperm from being made in the normal way,” Balthazar said.

But some men still may be diagnosed with male factor infertility without the above-mentioned factors and the couple can be ruled with unexplained infertility -- either way, there are treatment options.

“One treatment that we primarily do is obviously intrauterine insemination, where we can take the sperm processing and place it back directly into the uterus and the other treatment that we obviously also offer is IVF, in vitro fertilization, and that’s for more severe male factor infertility cases,” Balthazar said.

Balthazar goes on to explain that while infertility is something many have a hard time talking about, that talking about it more may make actually help more people feel comfortable about dealing with it.

“We’re talking about the male part, we’re talking about sperm, it’s not something taboo that we shouldn’t talk about,” Balthazar said. “It’s something routine. It’s actually medical.”

If you are looking for support when dealing with infertility RESOLVE San Antonio offers help with resources and a support group.

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