The Big Implications of Looking after Your ‘Little Guys’

INFERTILITY due to poor semen quality may be associated with a number of specific medical conditions, including hypertension, peripheral artery disease, cerebrovascular disease, non-ischaemic heart disease, and skin and endocrine disorders, a study has discovered.

Previously, researchers established that male infertility could increase mortality risk, but only now has the same team uncovered this more specific link. “To the best of my knowledge, there’s never been a study showing this association before,” said study leader Dr Michael Eisenberg, Assistant Professor of Urology, Stanford University School of Medicine, Stanford, California, USA. “There are a lot of men who have hypertension, so understanding that correlation is of huge interest to us.”

Between 1994 and 2011, researchers took semen samples from 9,837 infertile men with an average age of 38 years and assessed them for motility, volume, and concentration.  Interestingly, the team found that men whose infertility was caused by semen abnormalities were more likely to have circulatory system disorders, and furthermore, the more semen abnormalities a man possessed, the higher his risk of having such a condition.

“As we treat men’s infertility, we should also assess their overall health. That visit to a fertility clinic represents a big opportunity to improve their treatment for other conditions, which we now suspect could actually help resolve the infertility they came in for in the first place,” said Dr Eisenberg.

The team’s findings do seem to show a direct correlation between semen quality and men’s health, something which could prove vital in treatment. According to the American Society of Reproductive Medicine, the male partner is either the sole or contributing cause of infertility in around 40% of infertile couples, and any discovery that could curb this trend and help couples to conceive, while simultaneously helping them diagnose and treat other conditions, is a vital one.

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