• How Stress Affects Semen Quality

    It’s long been understood that stress has an impact on a person’s health, so it comes as no surprise to learn that men’s reproductive health may be affected by stress. About 12 in every 100 couples in the United States struggles with infertility, and several studies over the past several years have established a link between poor semen quality and stress. Now, a new study is taking a closer look at both subjective and objective measures of stress to try to determine how it’s connected with semen concentration and sperm motility and appearance.

    Male infertility is the problem for about 40 percent of couples with fertility issues. The main cause of male infertility is sperm abnormality, including misshapen or immobile sperm or low sperm production. Sometimes, these abnormalities are caused by medical conditions, but they can also be caused by health and lifestyle factors.

    The new study, published in the journal Fertility and Sterility was conducted by researchers from the Rutgers School of Public Health in Piscataway, NJ and Columbia University’s Mailman School of Public Health in New York, NY. Between 2005 and 2008, researchers looked at 193 men between the ages of 38 to 49 who were a part of the Study of the Environment and Reproduction at the Kaiser Foundation Health Plan in Oakland, CA. The men completed a series of tests to measure stress levels, including workplace stress, stressful life events, and perceived stress. They also provided sperm samples, which were analyzed for semen concentration, sperm shape, and sperm movement (motility).

    According to the researchers, men who felt stressed had lower concentrations of sperm and more sperm that were misshapen or had impaired motility. Even after considering other factors, like a history of reproductive health or other health problems, life stress negatively impacted sperm quality. Interestingly, job stress did not have the same effect. However, men with stressful jobs had lower levels of testosterone, and unemployed men had a lower quality of sperm than even stressed-out men with jobs.

    The researchers don’t fully understand how stress affects semen quality, but they have some theories. It could be that stress triggers the release of glucocorticoids, steroid hormones which lower testosterone and dampen sperm production. Oxidative stress could also be a factor because oxidative stress in the body can degrade semen quality.

    What is known is that a man can improve his fertility, even under stress, with healthy lifestyle habits. Staying physically active and practicing stress-reducing relaxation techniques can help, as can eating a nutritious diet and maintaining a healthy BMI. Men who are trying to improve their fertility should quit smoking, limit alcohol consumption, and talk to a doctor before beginning any new medication.

    At the Center for Vasectomy Reversal, we pride ourselves on helping men improve their fertility through uncompromising, concierge-level patient care. 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 fertility concerns. To learn more, contact us through our website or call 941-894-6428.

  • What are Anti-Sperm Antibodies?

    Are you and your partner struggling to become pregnant following vasectomy reversal surgery? Many factors affect the success rate of this procedure, including the potential development of anti-sperm antibodies. While this is a less common cause of male infertility, it’s still a factor worth exploring.

    What are Anti-Sperm Antibodies?

    Under normal conditions, sperm only exists within a man’s closed reproductive system. The tubules through which sperm travel don’t mix with other parts of the body. However, if sperm enters the bloodstream for any reason, the body’s immune system perceives the sperm as a foreign protein and produces anti-sperm antibodies in response.

    Anti-sperm antibodies may cause sperm to clump together, reducing their ability to swim and subsequently reach the female egg. In rare cases, the antibodies can also cover the head of the sperm, rendering them unable to penetrate and fertilize the egg.

    What Causes Anti-Sperm Antibodies?

    In short, any time semen mixes with blood inside the body, anti-sperm antibodies are liable to form. Men may develop these antibodies for any of the following reasons:

    • Vasectomy or other testicle surgery
    • Tramatic testicle injury
    • Prostate infection

    Women’s reproductive systems can also produce anti-sperm antibodies if they have an allergic reaction to their partner’s semen. If present in the cervical mucus, these antibodies could damage or kill sperm as they enter the vagina. This condition is rare and not fully understood by the medical community.

    Testing for Anti-Sperm Antibodies

    An immunobead test (IBT) detects the presence of sperm-destroying antibodies in the blood, seminal fluid, or cervical mucus. Testing also indicates what part of the sperm is specifically affected. When performed on blood, an IBT can reveal whether the anti-sperm antibodies originate from the patient’s blood or reproductive system.

    Because anti-sperm antibodies are relatively rare, and their presence doesn’t always cause infertility, your physician will likely review your medical history and conduct other tests before suggesting an IBT. Anti-sperm antibody testing should only be necessary if another cause of infertility can’t be found or the results of routine testing are inconclusive.

    Treating Anti-Sperm Antibodies

    While high levels of anti-sperm antibodies can make it difficult for some couples to get pregnant, their presence does not guarantee fertility issues. In fact, some findings suggest a low correlation between anti-sperm antibodies and the ability to conceive.

    Still, if you’re having trouble getting pregnant, you may choose to pursue treatment for anti-sperm antibodies. Your options include immune response-lowering medication and assisted reproductive technology (ART), such as intrauterine insemination.

    Dr. Joshua Green of the Center for Vasectomy Reversal is a leader in helping men overcome infertility problems. All infertility procedures we offer, including vasectomy reversal, are performed by a qualified surgeon using state-of-the-art equipment. Patients can expect concierge-level care and friendly staff interactions all along the way. To discuss your fertility concerns with Dr. Green, please contact our Sarasota, FL clinic at 941-894-6428 or schedule a free consultation online.

  • Things you can do to Improve Your Sperm Count

    A low sperm count is one of the most common factors in male infertility. If you’re struggling to conceive, it’s important to see your doctor. However, if your problem is low sperm count, you may be able to improve it naturally through a few simple lifestyle changes.

    • Stay active. Regular exercise increases testosterone, which improves the quality of semen. Bear in mind that too much exercise can reduce testosterone levels, so it’s important to strike a healthy balance. Some sources indicate that weightlifting and outdoor exercise may be particularly beneficial.
    • Lost weight. One benefit of exercise is that it can help reduce your weight, which can increase your sperm count. A recent study showed that men at a healthy weight have more mobile sperm than those at an unhealthy BMI, and weight loss has been shown to significantly increase semen volume, concentration, mobility, and sperm health. If you have a lot of weight to lose, losing even a little bit can help.
    • Relax! When you’re under stress, sex is less satisfying, and fertility is reduced. Additionally, stress can raise cortisol levels, inhibiting testosterone levels. Taking time to unwind every day can help boost your fertility. Make sure to get enough sleep, too, because men who get seven to eight hours of sleep each night have better fertility health.
    • Mind your substances. Don’t drink heavily, don’t smoke, or use tobacco, and avoid illegal drug use. If you smoke or have a substance abuse problem, get help from your doctor.
    • Eat a healthy diet. Pack your diet with nutrient-dense foods, including citrus fruits, green vegetables, nuts and seeds, plant-based oils, beef, and chicken. Focus on antioxidants, which can boost your sperm count. Consider supplements, because vitamins like D, C, E, and CoQ10 and minerals like zinc can help sperm health. Because plant estrogen, called phytoestrogens, reduce men’s sperm production, it’s best to avoid consuming too much soy.
    • Clean up your environment. Environmental toxins may affect your sperm count, and while you can’t control pollution, you can limit your exposure to harmful substances in your environment. Substances like pesticides, painting materials, herbicides, degreasers, and solvents can all negatively impact fertility. Radiation and x-rays are harmful to sperm production, and overheating the testicles by wearing tight clothing, visiting a sauna, or working with a laptop in your lap can also lower your sperm count.
    • Herbal supplements may help. If you’re interested in natural food supplements, you might try holistic remedies like fenugreek, Tribulus terrestris, ashwagandha, or maca root.

    At the Center for Vasectomy Reversal, we love helping men improve their fertility and build their families. 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 fertility concerns. To learn more, contact us through our website, or call 941-894-6428 for a free consultation.

  • The Science of Having a Boy or a Girl

    Most parents-to-be want a healthy baby, but many also wish for a particular gender. You have probably heard rumors for tipping the odds in favor of one sex or the other, but are any of them true? Explore the science of having a boy or a girl.

    The Father’s Sperm Determines a Child’s Gender

    No matter what other factors may be at play, one thing is certain—the sex chromosome of the sperm that fertilizes the egg determines the baby’s gender at birth. If an X chromosome combines with the mother’s X chromosome, you get a girl (XX). And if a Y chromosome reaches the egg first, you get a boy (XY).

    Factors that May Influence the Sex of a Child

    Just about everyone has a nearly 50/50 chance of conceiving a boy or a girl. Having a family of all boys or all girls is almost always due to pure chance. Still, specific factors may slightly influence the odds that an X or Y chromosome sperm will fertilize the egg.

    • The ovulation cycle: In the 1960s, the best-selling book, How to Choose the Sex of Your Baby, argued that timing sex close to ovulation allows fast-swimming Y sperm to reach the egg sooner, resulting in a male baby. And since Y sperm die quicker, intercourse far away from ovulation maximizes the chance of X sperm achieving fertilization, resulting in a female baby. However, this argument has been disputed over the years.
    • Wartime: Some research has found a small correlation between higher male birth rates and times of war and conflict. This is an interesting find, given that male mortality rates are high during war.
    • Stress: Other studies show that extreme stress can lead to female conceptions, which may be related to the fragility of Y sperm or the hormonal changes that tend to favor X sperm when the going gets tough.
    • Wealth: A study of billionaires suggests that men who inherit their money are more likely to have sons than self-made billionaires (and the general population), suggesting that wealth without stress leads to sons.
    • Mother’s diet: Some argue that eating cereal preconception induces male births, while others say low-salt, high-calcium diets favor females.
    • The father’s family: A study of family trees found that fathers inherit a tendency to have more sons or daughters from their parents. Therefore, a man with many brothers is more likely to have sons, and a man with many sisters is more likely to have daughters.

    With so many factors at play, most of which aren’t within your control, the odds end up being about the same as flipping a coin. And chances are, the moment you hold your newborn, it won’t matter to you whether it’s a boy or a girl.

    Are you interested in having a vasectomy reversal so you can welcome a new son or daughter into the world? If so, please contact the Center for Vasectomy Reversal in Sarasota, FL at 941-894-6428 for more information.

  • Things That Affect Male Fertility

    The journey to parenthood is straightforward for many, but up to 15 percent of couples fail to conceive after a year of trying to get pregnant. Male infertility plays a role in over one-third of these cases. Consider the factors that affect male fertility and what you can do to improve your chances of conceiving a child with your partner.

    Causes of Male Infertility

    You could have trouble getting your partner pregnant if you have any of the following:

    • Low sperm count
    • Abnormal sperm function
    • Blockages that prevent the delivery of sperm
    • Low testosterone levels

    What Affects Male Fertility?

    The following factors play a role in your sperm count, function, delivery, and testosterone levels:

    • Varicocele: Having enlarged veins within the scrotum is the most common reversible cause of male infertility.
    • Infection: Some infections interfere with sperm health or production, including several STDs, such as gonorrhea, Chlamydia, and HIV.
    • Substance use: Drugs, alcohol, and tobacco can lower testosterone levels and sperm count.
    • Overall health: Being overweight or having high blood pressure may reduce fertility. Other medical causes include undescended testicles, tumors, hormone imbalances, chromosome defects, and untreated celiac disease.
    • Ejaculation issues: Various conditions may prevent proper ejaculation, including diabetes, spinal cord injuries, medications, and surgery of the bladder, urethra, or prostate.
    • Environmental factors: Overexposure to heat, radiation, heavy metals, and industrial chemicals may reduce sperm count or function. Even prolonged biking, horseback riding, or physically demanding work can affect fertility.
    • Emotional factors: High stress may interfere with hormones needed to produce sperm. Depression can also cause sexual dysfunction that can cause male fertility issues.

    How to Improve Male Fertility

    Being unable to conceive a child can be frustrating and stressful. Fortunately, there are a few things you can do to improve your fertility:

    • Receive treatment for underlying medical conditions.
    • Talk to your doctor about switching medications if infertility is a side effect of anything you’re currently taking.
    • Consider the changes you can make to reduce physical strain at work and in your daily life.
    • Wear boxers, not briefs, to avoid elevated temperatures and tightness that could affect sperm count.
    • Adopt stress management techniques, such as meditation, aromatherapy, yoga, and breathing exercises.
    • Examine your lifestyle. If you use substances or are overweight, improving your health may increase your fertility.
    • Schedule a doctor visit to check your fertility, especially if you experience sexual dysfunction, pain or swelling in the testicle area, abnormal breast growth, or hormonal irregularities along with fertility issues.

    Did you previously have a vasectomy, but now you’re ready to start or grow your family? Dr. Joshua Green at the Center for Vasectomy Reversal can make your dream of fatherhood a reality. We provide state-of-the-art treatment for men looking to reverse a vasectomy or address other fertility concerns. To learn more, please call our Sarasota, FL clinic at 941-894-6428 or schedule a free consultation through our website.

  • 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.

  • Spotlight on Sperm Function Testing

    Couples who are experiencing male infertility may have sperm function testing done, particularly if the male partner had a vasectomy reversal surgery. Sperm function testing is similar to semen analysis, but they aren’t quite the same test. A sperm function test will help the male infertility specialist develop a customized treatment plan that can help the couple achieve pregnancy. 

    First, the man must provide a sample of semen, which is examined in a laboratory. The lab technician will examine many aspects of the medical sample, including the total semen volume and the sperm density. The sperm density refers to the number of sperm present in the semen. A typical density is greater than 20 million sperm for each milliliter of semen. The lab technician will also examine the sperm motility (how well it moves), sperm morphology (shape of the sperm), and the presence of white blood cells. High amounts of white blood cells may indicate that an infection or inflammation could be affecting the sperm. 

    Dr. Joshua Green has helped countless couples overcome male infertility caused by vasectomies. Call the Center for Vasectomy Reversal in Sarasota at (941) 894-6428 to discuss your options, which may include sperm aspiration. 

  • What Is Sperm Washing? (And Other Common Questions About Sperm)

    On average, one milliliter of semen contains 15 million to more than 200 million sperm. It only takes one sperm to fertilize an egg, but the journey it must take to reach that egg can be incredibly challenging. An egg released by a follicle will only stay in the fallopian tube for about 24 hours. If sperm can’t reach the egg and fertilize it, pregnancy won’t happen that month. When male infertility is a factor, then it’s even more difficult for a couple to get pregnant naturally, which is why so many turn to in vitro fertilization (IVF). Sperm washing is one part of that process.

    What is sperm washing?

    Sperm washing is the processing that semen goes through before it can be used in an assisted reproduction procedure, like IVF or intrauterine insemination (IUI). The washing technique separates sperm from semen, and also eliminates dead or otherwise unviable sperm from the usable sample. Additionally, prostaglandins are removed from the sperm. These are naturally occurring chemicals that can interfere with fertility.

    I know women must give up alcohol before pregnancy, but what about men?

    Alcohol consumption affects male fertility as well as female fertility. Men who consume alcohol regularly or to excess are at a higher risk of reduced sperm quality and quantity. Fortunately, the effects are quickly reversed once you abstain from alcohol.

    Does my body weight affect my sperm?

    Yes. Men who are either underweight or overweight have a higher risk of male infertility. Overweight and obesity can affect the production of sperm, causing a low sperm count. Your body weight can also affect the quality of sperm.

    What about body temperature?

    Excessive heat can significantly affect your sperm count. If you’re trying to become a father, you should avoid hot tubs and saunas. Avoid placing sources of heat near your scrotal region. These include laptops and heating pads.

    When you become a patient at the Center for Vasectomy Reversal , you’ll have the option to have sperm aspirated for use in an IVF cycle. Dr. Green will explain all of your options during your consultation. Call our vasectomy reversal clinic in Sarasota at (941) 894-6428.

  • A Look at Smoking and Sperm Quality

    Smoking is never safe for anyone. During pregnancy, it’s particularly harmful because it compromises the health of the unborn baby. And regardless of whether the male or female partner smokes, the toxic substances suppress fertility. Smoking can cause male infertility because it damages the sperm. Researchers have found that men who smoke have lower sperm counts and abnormal sperm morphology. Morphology refers to the shape of the sperm. Smoking also affects sperm motility, which is the ability of the sperm to travel to an egg.

    That’s not all smoking does to male fertility. It damages the DNA of sperm, which interferes with the fertilization of an egg, the implantation of an embryo, and the embryo’s development. Smoking increases the risk of miscarriage and reduces the chances of a successful IVF cycle. In addition to causing male infertility, secondhand smoke compromises the health and suppresses the fertility of the female partner.

    When you’re ready to conquer infertility, Dr. Joshua Green in Sarasota can help. Call the Center for Vasectomy Reversal at (941) 894-6428.