Conceiving a child can often be a challenging and stressful event in the lives of a couple. Despite the fact that most of the pressure seems to reside on a woman’s shoulders to get pregnant, factors related to a man’s fertility are equally important and just as much emphasis should be placed on men’s infertility as women’s.
Infertility is defined as the inability to achieve a pregnancy after one year of unprotected intercourse. Conception is normally achieved within 12 months in 80-85% of couples using no contraceptive measures. Therefore an estimated 15% of couples attempting their first pregnancy will have difficulty conceiving.
An estimated 6% of adult males are thought to be infertile. While certain cases of male infertility are due to anatomical abnormalities such as varicoceles, ductal obstructions, or ejaculatory disorders, an estimated 40-90% of cases are due to deficient sperm production. Factors that may affect sperm production or motility include tobacco use, excessive alcohol or marijuana usage, excess body weight, certain medications, environmental toxins, restrictive underwear and temperature extremes. Chronic underlying infections, diet and endocrine abnormalities can also play a crucial role in male fertility.
Naturopathic doctors take a holistic and individualized approach to male infertility. They take a thorough history from a patient to determine all of the underlying factors that may be contributing to the inability to conceive and are able to run both simple and specialized laboratory tests. One such specialized laboratory test is a blood Hormone Profile test. If certain hormones like testosterone or estrogen are abnormal, this could potentially contribute to male infertility. Other potential tests to determine the nature of male infertility include Heavy Metal Toxicity testing, Environmental Toxicity Testing, and Adrenal Function Testing.
Naturopathic doctors can tailor personalized treatments to a patient to improve the likelihood of a couple conceiving a child. Nutritional supplementation of vitamins, amino acids, minerals and antioxidants help to correct any nutritional imbalances that may be present and reverse the deleterious effects of environmental toxins that both may play a role in male infertility. Certain botanical medicines and acupuncture have also shown to be powerful naturopathic treatment options to benefit male fertility.