July 17, 2015

Window Into General Men’s Health

Window Into Men's Health

General health status, of both men and women, are closely correlated to fertility status. For instance, chronic health conditions and serious illness are associated with an attenuation in reproductive function. An abnormal semen analysis increases the incidence of testicular cancer when compared to men of comparable age with normal semen parameters. The converse may also be true, that men with poor semen analyses may have a greater chance of certain chronic and acute illnesses (autoimmune diseases, infection, liver and kidney disease).

It is also noted that men seeking fertility care for male-factor infertility tend to be older (>35 years).  In itself, age may play a factor. The first demonstration of age-related decline in semen parameters occurs at around 35 as well. In one research article by Ventimiglia et al (Fertility and Sterility, 104. No 1; July 2015: p48-55) it seemed that counts less than 34 Million/ml were more associated with declining health. Brain signaling for both testosterone production and sperm production are intertwined. So it is not surprising to have a demonstration of lower levels with declining health. However, low semen parameters seemed to be an independent risk factor.

To this end, we can use the semen analysis as a crude window into general men’s health. Poor parameters should be investigated for additional undiscovered health conditions. Both healthy, mothers and fathers generate healthy babies.

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Danielle Vitiello, Ph.D., M.D.

Danielle Vitiello, Ph.D., M.D. Board-Certified in Obstetrics and Gynecology, Reproductive Endocrinology and Infertility