June is Men's Health Awareness month and is the perfect opportunity to remind everyone that infertility is not just a woman’s issue. Forty percent of couples experience male factor infertility, which includes sperm production disorders, structural abnormalities, ejaculatory disturbances and immunologic disorders.
Why do men run in the opposite direction when it's time to get their fertility tested?
Many men hesitate to get tested because they feel that it is “weird” or unnatural, or “there’s no way I can have a problem with my sperm.” No one wants to think anything’s wrong—we understand that. Trying to conceive though, takes two cells and one of them is a sperm!
We all need to be on the same team
“Infertility is a team sport,” says Dr. Joshua M. Hurwitz, a partner at RMACT. “Our diagnostic testing includes an extremely thorough fertility evaluation of all our female patients, as well as testing a semen analysis specimen 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’s who now has a four-year-old daughter and is expecting their 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 improving their 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.
Infertility is not sterility—we just need ONE sperm!
When these steps are not enough, there is medical intervention. Intrauterine 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).
What's in the blue bag?
For your convenience, RMACT provides semen analysis kits at our offices and at OB-GYN's offices. The kits, which include mineral oil (recommended over synthetic lubricants for safety), a specimen cup, instructions, and a prescription to be signed by the referring MD. These kits allow you to produce in the privacy of your own home. Schedule a convenient time to drop off the specimen at one of our locations: Danbury, Norwalk, Stamford, or Trumbull.
The advantages of working with RMACT for a semen analysis
- In-house laboratory specialists perform comprehensive sperm testing
- RMACT physicians review test results and reach out to your doctor with any concerns, or depending on your preference can explain results to you over the phone
- Financial team conducts benefit verification to obtain insurance coverage for testing