• New Research about Infertility is Promising

    One in eight couples has trouble conceiving. Do you know how many of the cases are caused by unexplained male infertility? Nearly a quarter. For years, scientists have known that infertility can be linked to sperm that fail to throw out histones from DNA during development, but the reasons for this failure and how it happens is unclear. Now, however, that lack of clarity may be changing.

    Promising new research out of Penn Medicine is showing the precise location of the retained histones and the key gene that regulates them. Researchers have also created a mouse model with a mutated version of the gene. This allows investigators to track the defects in sperm, starting with the early stages of sperm development and going through fertilization. This research could lead us to a better understanding of infertility in men, and how epigenetic mutations are passed to future generations.

    What does it mean, when sperm fail to evict histones?  Histones are the main proteins in chromatin. Their function is to package DNA and turn genes on and off. Healthy sperm lose about 90-95 percent of these proteins, replacing them with protamines, smaller proteins able to pack DNA into tiny sperm. When a man has unexplained infertility, the problem is often with retained histones. The sperm count can be normal, the sperm have normal motility, and yet because the histones are in the wrong location, the couple has trouble conceiving.

    Until now, research has produced conflicting results about where these histones are located. Because of the confusion of discrepant data, the burden of assisted-reproductive technologies has continued to fall on women. Even if the male has the issue, the female partner goes through hormone injections and procedures to promote a higher fertility rate.

    Imagine, then, if scientists were able to use epigenetic therapies to change the levels of histones and protamines in men. With this new research, scientists are better able to closely study the mechanisms behind a mutated sperm’s trajectory, which opens the door to potential therapeutic treatments. Epigenetic drugs are already being used to treat cancer and other diseases. With a clearer understanding of how a man’s epigenome affects conception and embryonic development, we have the potential to alter sperm, so these new studies may lead to a breakthrough infertility treatment.

    If you’re struggling with infertility or considering a vasectomy reversal, the Center for Vasectomy Reversal is here to help. Under the direction of Dr. Joshua Green, our team provides state-of-the-art treatment for men who need a reversal of their vasectomy or have other concerns about their fertility. We accept major credit cards as well as cash and checks, and offer a payment plan for those who are unable to pay the entire fee at the time of surgery. Whether you’re ready to schedule a procedure or just want to learn more, you can contact us through our website, or call 941-894-6428 to arrange a free consultation.

  • Should Men Take Pre-Natal Vitamins?

    When you’re trying to conceive, it’s extremely important to take care of your health. A woman who is trying to get pregnant will work to stay at a healthy weight, watch her diet, stop drinking and smoking, and take prenatal vitamins, to make sure she gives her potential baby the very best start possible. But what about the potential father? Men can also take steps to improve their fertility, including taking prenatal vitamins. 

    Many of the things men can do to up their chances of fathering a child are the same things that women do when they’re trying to conceive. Maintaining a healthy weight, quitting smoking, and eating a healthful diet are all good steps to take, as are getting enough sleep and reducing stress. Additionally, men who want to procreate should not wear constrictive underwear or take long soaks in the bath or hot tub.  

    Why take all of these measures? A man’s age, diet, and lifestyle can have an effect on his sperm health, which has an impact on fertility but also on the child’s development and long-term health. A newborn’s predisposition for chronic diseases such as obesity, diabetes, and cardiovascular disease can result from poor behavior or health of the mother or father before they even conceive. Three to six months prior to conception is a great time to improve your lifestyle, and that includes taking a prenatal vitamin.  

    The best prenatal vitamin for a man to take is not the same as a woman’s prenatal vitamin because some of the nutrients in prenatal vitamins can cause problems for men. It’s advised that men take a multivitamin formulated for adults or specifically for men, rather than taking a prenatal vitamin formulated for a woman. Men need nutrients like calcium and iron, which are in prenatal vitamins, but not at the doses those vitamins contain. In fact, too much calcium has been linked to cardiovascular disease in men, and too much iron can lead to a host of issues, including gastrointestinal problems, liver problems, and dangerously low blood pressure. What’s more, prenatal vitamins contain folic acid, which is important for women to take to prevent birth defects, but which has been linked to an increased risk of prostate cancer. Before taking any kind of supplement, it’s smart to talk to your doctor and get a recommendation for the right formulation for you.  

    One major roadblock to a man’s fertility is a vasectomy, but even that can be overcome with new microsurgery techniques for reconnecting the vas deferens. If you’re considering a vasectomy reversal, the Center for Vasectomy Reversal is here to help. Under the direction of Dr. Joshua Green, our caring and skilled team provides state-of-the-art treatment for men who need a reversal of their vasectomy or have other concerns about their fertility. We accept major credit cards as well as cash and checks, and we also offer a payment plan option for those who are unable to pay the entire fee at the time of surgery. Whether you’re ready to schedule a procedure or just have questions and want to learn more, you can contact us through our website, or call 941-894-6428 to arrange a free consultation.  

  • Things that can Harm Male Fertility

    For some couples, conceiving a child is a simple and straightforward process. For others, though, fertility can be a complicated situation. For nearly fifteen percent of American couples who haven’t conceived after trying for a year, the label of infertility becomes their reality. Many factors come into play when it comes to fertility, and about half of the couples who are unable to conceive face this problem because of male infertility. Why is it harder for some men to conceive with a partner?  

    Men usually face infertility due to low sperm production, abnormal sperm function, or blockages that inhibit the delivery of sperm. Sometimes, these problems arise because of underlying health issues. However, a man’s lifestyle also has an impact on his fertility. In fact, if you’re struggling with infertility, it could even be due to your job.  

    A recent study of 456 men in their early 30s found that men in physically demanding jobs were more than twice as likely to have low sperm counts. In fact, 13 percent of the men in those types of jobs had low sperm counts, as opposed to just 6 percent of men whose work was not as strenuous. Researchers even looked at other factors like late-night shifts, heat, noise, and prolonged sitting, and found that the physical aspect of the job was the only one of these factors that impacted semen quality.  

    Of course, just because that’s the only one of those particular factors to have an effect, it doesn’t mean there aren’t other factors at play. High blood pressure, for instance, is also associated with fertility issues, including abnormally shaped spermThe data isn’t conclusive as to whether the high blood pressure itself is the problem, or if the problem is caused by the treatment used to combat the high blood pressure, though it was noted that men who took multiple medications were more prone to low sperm counts.  

    If you’re struggling with infertility, it may be helpful to know that there are other lifestyle factors that have an impact as well. These include: 

    • Smoking tobacco. 
    • Drinking excessive amounts of alcohol or smoking marijuana.  
    • Taking drugs, including steroids and cocaine.  
    • Being overweight.  
    • Stress, particularly emotional stress.  
    • Overheating the testicles by using saunas or hot tubs, or by wearing tight clothing or working long hours on a laptop.  
    • Exposure to toxic chemicals like pesticides, herbicides, and benzenes.  
    • Current or past exposure to STIs, like chlamydia or gonorrhea.  
    • Biking or horseback riding for long periods of time.  

    Of course, infertility can also have a medical cause. Hormonal imbalances, sperm duct defects, undescended testicles, and tumors all come into play. One common, reversible cause of male infertility is a varicocele, which is a swelling of the veins that drain the testicles. This can prevent normal cooling, but it’s typically asymptomatic. Sometimes, it causes the testicles to swell. It can, in rare cases, cause painVaricoceles are typically treated surgically.  

    One major roadblock to a man’s fertility is a vasectomy, but even that can be overcome with new microsurgery techniques for reconnecting the vas deferens. If you’re considering a vasectomy reversal, the Center for Vasectomy Reversal is here to help. Under the direction of Dr. Joshua Green, our caring and skilled team provides state-of-the-art treatment for men who need a reversal of their vasectomy or have other concerns about their fertility. We accept major credit cards as well as cash and checks, and we also offer a payment plan option for those who are unable to pay the entire fee at the time of surgery. Whether you’re ready to schedule a procedure or just have questions and want to learn more, you can contact us through our website, or call 941-894-6428 to arrange a free consultation.  

  • How Does the Age of the Female Partner Affect Post-Reversal Pregnancy Rates?

    There are dozens of issues that can potentially affect fertility. For men who have had a vasectomy, that procedure is the overriding factor. But there are also issues that may affect female fertility. It’s a smart idea to explore all the possible factors before making a medical decision, including the potential effects of the age of the female partner. 

    What Science Says About Age and Fertility 

    According to the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG), a woman’s fertility “decreases gradually but significantly” when she reaches her 32nd birthday. The rate of fertility decline accelerates after 37 years. By age 40, it’s quite common for women to have trouble conceiving naturally. ACOG notes that females are born with one to two million oocytes, or eggs. By puberty, women will have between 300,000 and 500,000 eggs. That number declines sharply at age 37, at which point women will only have 25,000 eggs. As ovarian reserve declines, so too does fertility. 

    How Age Affects Post-Reversal Pregnancy Rates 

    Research indicates that female age has no special effect on pregnancy rates after the male partner has had a vasectomy reversal. In other words, the chances of pregnancy are comparable. If Jane, age 40, and Jose, post-vasectomy reversal, try to have a baby, their chances of getting pregnant would be roughly the same as if Jose had never had a vasectomy, assuming that all other factors remain consistent. 

    What This Means for You  

    When a couple is considering a vasectomy reversal, it’s wise for the female partner to discuss potential fertility issues with her physician. Even if female infertility may be a problem, there are other options to consider. The vasectomy reversal surgeon could perform a sperm retrieval procedure if the couple wants to consider in vitro fertilization (IVF), for example. 

    Dr. Green at the Center for Vasectomy Reversal strongly encourages couples to be proactive patients. It’s always a good idea for the female partner to explore possible fertility issues with her doctor before making decisions about the vasectomy reversal. When you’re ready to move forward, call Dr. Joshua Green in Sarasota at (941) 894-6428 to request a consult. 

  • What’s Assisted Hatching?

    Medical technology is getting better with each passing year. One of the more recent developments in assisted reproduction is assisted hatching. This technique may be used during some in vitro fertilization (IVF) procedures. If you or your partner has recently had a vasectomy reversal with sperm aspiration, consider talking to the fertility doctor about whether you could benefit from assisted hatching. 

    The Basics of Assisted Hatching 

    As an embryo develops during its initial stages, it’s surrounded by a layer of proteins. This layer is called the zona pellicuda. An embryo can only successfully implant onto the uterine wall if it’s able to “hatch” out of the zona pellicuda. Assisted hatching is a technique that helps the embryo succeed in doing this. 

    An In-Depth Look at Assisted Hatching 

    This technique was developed when fertility specialists noticed that embryos with a thin zona pellicuda were more likely to implant to the uterine wall during an IVF cycle. If a couple is a good candidate for assisted hatching, the technique will be performed on the fourth day of development. At this time, the embryo contains about six to eight cells. Here’s a look at the step-by-step procedure for assisted hatching: 

    • The embryo is placed under a microscope, stabilized by a pipette.  
    • Another small pipette is used to introduce an acidified solution to the zona pellicuda to puncture a very small hole in the layer.  
    • The embryo is rinsed to remove any lingering acidified solution and then returned to the incubator.  
    • A few hours later, the embryo is ready for the transfer into the uterus. 

    The Typical Candidates for Assisted Hatching 

    Assisted hatching isn’t recommended for all couples. It’s generally recommended when a woman has failed to get pregnant after going through one or more IVF cycles, or when she has a poor prognosis of conceiving. Women who are of advanced maternal age, for instance, may be good candidates for assisted hatching 

    Over the years, Dr. Joshua Green has performed hundreds of vasectomy reversal surgeries and other male infertility procedures, including sperm aspiration. Bring your questions to your consult, as we pride ourselves on exceptional patient education and guidance. Call the Center for Vasectomy Reversal in Sarasota at (941) 894-6428. 

  • Exploring the Link Between Weight and Fertility

    One issue that affects both female and male infertility is obesity. If you undergo a vasectomy reversal in the hopes of conceiving, maintaining a healthy weight can make the process easier. Here is a closer look at how weight could impact fertility for both partners.

    Hormonal Changes

    For both men and women, being overweight can lead to hormonal imbalances. These changes in hormonal levels can impact both ovulation and sperm production. If you are overweight after your vasectomy reversal, you could face a lower sperm count and issues with sperm motility and morphology. One study indicated that men experience a 10% increase in their odds of infertility for every 20 pounds they are overweight. For women, being overweight increases testosterone levels and may make ovulation decrease or stop.

    Sexual Dysfunction

    Men who are overweight are more likely to experience sexual dysfunction, including problems maintaining an erection. In addition to biological issues caused by obesity that interfere with healthy sexual functioning, men who are overweight may experience self-esteem issues that lead to dysfunction. Often, weight loss can reverse these issues for men who experience sexual dysfunction after a vasectomy reversal.

    Increased Miscarriage Risk

    When a pregnancy is achieved, being overweight is associated with a higher risk of miscarriage. Women who are overweight have miscarriages at higher rates than women who are a normal weight when they become pregnant, even if the pregnancy was achieved using IVF. Men who are overweight are also more likely to have a partner experience a miscarriage, as excess weight may affect sperm health. The odds of a miscarriage increase even more when both partners are overweight at the time of conception.

    The Center for Vasectomy Reversal helps men and their partners overcome male infertility vasectomy reversals and sperm retrieval procedures. Maintaining a healthy weight before and after procedure can increase your chances of successful conception. To learn more about infertility procedures in Sarasota, please call (941) 894-6428.

  • Ways Men Can Boost Their Fertility

    After having a vasectomy reversal, men and their partners may be impatient to start growing their families. Following vasectomy reversals, it can take a while for sperm to be present once again in the ejaculate. However, there are some steps men can take to boost their chances of successfully overcoming male infertility .

    Avoid Excessive Heat Exposure

    One of these strategies involves avoiding certain heat sources. An excessive increase in testicular temperature can adversely affect the health of a man’s sperm. Although the research is not yet definitive, some medical experts do recommend that men avoid sitting in hot tubs or placing laptops on their laps. Some researchers also suggest that cellphone radiation can be harmful to sperm; they recommend avoiding placing cellphones into trouser pockets.

    Quit Smoking

    Although more research is needed on the relationship between heat exposure and male infertility, medical studies strongly substantiate the risks of smoking while trying to conceive . You probably already know that women must avoid smoking and drinking alcohol while pregnant to prevent miscarriage and health problems of the baby. However, both men and women should avoid smoking and secondhand smoke exposure while trying to conceive. In men, smoking damages DNA and diminishes sperm production.

    Avoid Environmental Toxins

    It’s advisable for both men and women to avoid excessive exposure to certain environmental toxins when trying to conceive. Agricultural pesticides and household pesticides can influence male infertility. Men who must work with environmental toxins should carefully follow all safety guidelines to reduce their exposure.

    Scrutinize Labels on Lubricants

    Many vaginal lubricants contain spermicidal agents. Soap can also kill sperm and lead to male infertility. Water-based, commercially available lubricants may not kill sperm, but they can interfere with sperm motility. Men can ask a fertility specialist for help choosing an appropriate product. Many experts recommend canola oil or peanut oil.

    The Center for Vasectomy Reversal and Male Infertility was founded with the mission of combining sophisticated surgical techniques with unsurpassed patient care. Schedule a consultation with Dr. Green by calling (941) 961-4581 and see for yourself why he is so highly recommended by his patients. Men and their partners are also invited to browse our website for more information about having a vasectomy reversal in Sarasota.