STD & Male Infertility
Sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) may have negative influences on men’s health, including their fertility. STDs are often asymptomatic and are not diagnosed easily, and therefore, their contribution to male infertility may be underestimated.
There are approximately 20 kinds of STDs and approximately 20 million STD infections in the Unites States every year. The most common STDs are the following:
Hepatitis B is a liver infection caused by the Hepatitis B virus (HBV). Hepatitis B is transmitted when body fluid (e.g., semen and blood) from an infected person with the Hepatitis B virus enters the body of someone who is not infected. This can happen through sexual contact, sharing needles, syringes or other drug-injection equipment or from mother to baby at birth. Hepatitis B is usually a short-term illness but for some people it can become a long-term and chronic infection.
Researches show that Hepatitis B decreases semen volume, semen pH, sperm count and sperm morphology, and consequently may cause male infertility. Chronic Hapatitis B may create a permanent damage to male fertility.
Hepatitis C is a liver infection caused by the Hepatitis C virus (HCV). Hepatitis C is a blood-borne virus. Today, most people become infected with the Hepatitis C virus by sharing needles or other equipment to inject drugs. For some people, hepatitis C is a short-term illness but for 70%–85% of people who become infected with Hepatitis C, it becomes a long-term, chronic infection. Chronic Hepatitis C is a serious disease than can result in long-term health problems, including infertility.
Studies demonstrated a significant decrease in semen volume, sperm count and progressive sperm motility, as well as significant increase in abnormal sperm morphology in chronic Hepatitis C male patients compared to healthy males.
Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV)
HIV is a virus spread through certain body fluids that attacks the body’s immune system, and specifically the CD4 cells (T cells), which help the immune system to resist infections. AIDS is the most severe phase of HIV infection.
Studies show that sperm parameters are significantly impaired in HIV-1 infected men, including, semen volume, sperm motility, sperm count and morphology. In addition, erectile and ejaculatory dysfunction is estimated to affect 60% of HIV male patient with advanced disease. All these factors may impact the fertility of male HIV patients.
Chlamydia is a STD caused by the bacterium Chlamydia Trachomatis. Chlamydia is spread through sexual contact with an infected person. Most people who are infected have no symptoms, however, men may suffer from burning during urination, discharge from the penis, as well as pain and swelling of the testicles. Chlamydia is the most common STD in the United States.
Studies show that male Chlamydia patients’ chances for sperm DNA fragmentation is 3.2 higher than in healthy men. In addition, researches demonstrate that male Chlamydia patients have low sperm motility, as well as lower pregnancy rates compared to healthy males. The damages of Chlamydia to the male reproductive system may be permanent.
Gonorrhea is a bacterial infection caused by the bacterium Neisseria Gonorrhoeae. Gonorrhea is the second most common STD in the United States. Many people have no symptoms of this STD, however, men may experience testicular pain and swelling, as well as burning during urination and a light-colored discharge from the penis. Gonorrhea is spread through sexual contact with an infected person.
An untreated Gonorrhea infection may cause permanent scarring and blockages in the tubes attached to the testicles, which may harm sperm production.
Syphilis is a STD caused by the bacterium Treponema Pallidum. Syphilis has four stages: primary, secondary, latent and tertiary. The symptoms of syphilis are different in each of its stages. The symptoms of the primary stage are syphilis sore (also called a chancre). In the secondary stage, a diffuse rash appears on the palms of the hands and soles of the feet. In latent syphilis there are almost no symptoms. Tertiary syphilis may affect multiple organ systems (including the brain, nerves, eyes, heart, blood vessels, liver, bones and joints) and its symptoms depend on the organ system affected.
A direct effect of syphilis on male fertility has not been proven, however, researches show that complications of syphilis may impact male fertility. An example for that is when tertiary syphilitic causes gummatous lesions. The gummatous lesions may destroy the tissue of the testicles, and consequently may impact the testicular function and male fertility.
Here at Sppare.me we offer sperm freezing and storage services. As part of this service, we request our clients to perform certain STD tests before we can clear their sperm sample for storage at our FDA® lab. We ask to perform these tests in order to protect other sperm samples that are stored with us, and to make sure that the sample depositor does not have STDs that may affect the quality of his sperm.
Sppare.me encourages men to protect their overall health, including the health of their reproductive system, while planning their future family. Testing and taking care of STDs are important measures that men can take to preserve their sperm production and maximize their chances of conception.
To learn more about how your activities can affect your fertility, click here.
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