According to the American Society of Reproductive Medicine, infertility affects both women and men equally. While women regularly see an obstetrician-gynecologist (OB/GYN), men may initially seek the insight of a urologist. Urologists specialize in diseases of the urinary tract and the male reproductive system. They also treat both male and female patients with conditions pertaining to the urinary tract (bladder, urethra, ureters, kidneys, etc.)
However, if you’re interested in building your family or trying to conceive, that’s when you would schedule a consultation to see a fertility doctor, known as a Reproductive Endocrinologist.
The overall suggested guide is if you’re a man, and your female partner is under the age of 35, and you have been trying to conceive for over one year, OR if your female partner is over 35 and you have been trying to conceive for over six months, you should make an appointment to see a Reproductive Endocrinologist, such as Dr. Wilcox.
There are some exceptions why a man should consider seeking the help of a fertility doctor sooner. They are:
- If you’re in a same-sex male relationship and would like to explore third-party family building options.
- If you’re experiencing pain, or discomfort in the groin or testicular area.
- If you’re having erection or ejaculation issues.
- If you have a known fertility issue in your health history that might include:
- Chemotherapy treatments for cancer
- A hereditary genetic concern that runs in your family such as Tay-sachs, Huntington’s Disease, or Cystic Fibrosis
- If you’ve ever had an infection in your testicles or prostate
- If you’ve taken certain medications or worked with any kind of materials that may impact your fertility health
Getting a fertility assessment can be exceptionally valuable. Dr. Wilcox will review your medical history, perform a physical exam and do a semen analysis. The analysis looks at three main components:
- Sperm Count
If the analysis comes back with any concerns, he may perform additional tests to check your hormone levels or perhaps request additional genetic tests.
There are several possible causes for male factor infertility. Some examples are:
- Infection – Infections can interfere with sperm production or sperm health. This can cause scarring which might block the sperm from being released.
- Varicocele – A varicocele is a swelling of the veins that drain the testicle. It’s the most common cause of male infertility and is reversible.
- Azoospermia – The absence of motile sperm in the semen.
While tests, blood work and a fertility work-up may sound overwhelming, if it provides answers and especially when Dr. Wilcox can offer solutions, it’s worth it. Blocked or abnormal veins can be repaired, medications can address hormonal imbalances and surgery is often possible to correct various issues.
You also have fertility treatment options available such as intrauterine insemination (IUI), in vitro fertilization (IVF), intracytoplasmic sperm injection (ICSI) or even donor sperm if that’s something that’s recommended and that you and your partner feel comfortable with.
What’s important to remember is that there are many options to building a family and Dr. Wilcox and his entire team are here to walk you through each avenue to decide what works best for you!