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Fertility Specialists Decry Men's Reluctance to Seek Infertility Treatment

Most patients assume infertility is female issue, though almost half infertility cases due to male factors or a combination of male and female


PURCHASE, N.Y., May 30 /PRNewswire/ -- Among couples who struggle to achieve pregnancy, the majority assume it is a female condition, according to an informal web survey conducted by IntegraMed, the leading operator of fertility centers in the United States. When asked which member of the couple sought initial medical treatment for infertility, 67 percent said it was the female partner, although the male is responsible for 30 to 40 percent of infertility cases, according to the American Society for Reproductive Medicine.

Nearly half of the 300 survey respondents said it was only after constant pressure that their husbands were willing to seek medical consultation, and 42 percent said their husbands simply were not comfortable talking to a doctor about their possible infertility, taking the position that they were "not meant to have children."

Male infertility affects approximately one in twenty men in the United States, according to the American Society for Reproductive Medicine. Why the apprehension to confront male infertility? Men's reluctance to seek infertility treatment is a challenge to fertility experts in the IntegraMed network, who suggest some men associate their sense of masculinity with the ability to conceive a child. Though cultural associations of masculinity and fertility are slowly changing, men's resistance to address the issue can hinder both diagnosis and timely treatment.

While more men than ever before are seeking treatment for male-factor fertility problems, they still lag behind women in getting the diagnostics and treatment they need. IntegraMed specialists say it is common for the woman to undergo hormone, ovulatory function, and fallopian tube tests months before her husband has even had a simple semen analysis -- despite the possibility the couple's infertility could be due to his sperm or some combination of male and female factors.

Fertility experts hope to continue to raise awareness about the importance of male reproductive health. Despite steadily increasing media coverage of male fertility issues, public education remains a challenge. For example, many patients are surprised to learn about the research of Kidd and Ford reported in the Journal of the American Medical Association (Nov. 15, 2006) that men older than 35 are twice as likely to be infertile as men younger than 25.

A healthy lifestyle is generally considered the most important factor affecting male fertility. Fertility specialists in the IntegraMed network offer advice on the following five factors for improving the chances of fatherhood:
-- Smoking -- Smokers often suffer from low sperm counts, decreased

motility (the mobility of sperm), and a higher incidence of


-- Substance abuse -- Excessive alcohol consumption can damage sperm;

cocaine or heavy marijuana use appears to temporarily reduce the number

and quality of sperm by as much as 50 percent.

-- Diet & nutrition -- A recent study from the National Institute of

Environmental Health Sciences of 1,558 men showed that men with a high

BMI (Body Mass Index) have significantly poorer semen quality (on

average 22 percent lower sperm concentrations) than men within the

normal BMI range. Selenium and zinc have been shown to have a positive

effect on sperm production.

-- Exercise -- Moderate exercise can help maintain weight and encourage

optimal health. The use of steroids and testosterone supplements,

however, can decrease sperm production.

-- Stress -- Stress can interfere with the production of GnRH, protein

hormones released from the hypothalamus, which stimulates sperm


A media backgrounder about the top 10 myths about male infertility is available online at infertility_10myths.jsp

About IntegraMed America, Inc.

IntegraMed America, Inc. is the leading operator of fertility centers and vein care clinics in the United States. IntegraMed also offers consumer treatment-financing programs for fertility treatment and operates, a leading fertility portal. The IntegraMed Fertility network consists of 31 contracted centers in 101 locations across the United States, including 171 physicians and Ph.D. scientists. One of every five IVF procedures in the U.S. is performed in an IntegraMed fertility practice. For more information visit

SOURCE IntegraMed America, Inc.
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