September 16, 2016

Overlooking the Sperm

sperm facts

When a couple is trying to conceive, the focus is often on the female partner. Many women will learn to track their periods, check for ovulation, and identify their fertile window. All too often, we are overlooking the sperm.

For men, there is a wide range of lifestyle factors and medications that can impact their fertility. Smoking (either tobacco or marijuana) has been shown to adversely affect semen parameters. Certain medical conditions, such as diabetes, high blood pressure, and obesity can also impair a man’s fertility. Additionally, there is a LONG list of medications that can negatively influence sperm production and function. This list includes: high blood pressure medications, diuretics, some anti-inflammatory drugs, psychiatric drugs, corticosteroids, anabolic steroids, antacids, anticonvulsants, chemotherapy drugs, and immunosuppressants, to name a few.

One of the most common scenarios we encounter is men who are being treated for low testosterone. There has been a dramatic rise in the diagnosis and treatment of low testosterone. Testosterone replacement (when necessary) is an effective treatment for this condition. Unfortunately, testosterone therapy can completely shut down sperm production.

If a man is trying to conceive and is diagnosed with low testosterone, we recommend that testosterone replacement be avoided until the couple has successfully conceived. In the meantime, there are other medications (such as clomiphene citrate) that can be used to try to improve a man’s testosterone levels while maintaining sperm production at the same time.

If you have any questions about your or your partner’s fertility, please contact us today!

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Beth Plante, M.D.

Beth Plante, M.D. Board-Certified in Obstetrics and Gynecology, Reproductive Endocrinology and Infertility