published Thursday, August 18th, 2011

Ask a doc


Q: Isn't infertility mostly a woman's problem?

A: Half of all known infertility issues are linked to male factors, such as low number of sperm, slow sperm or abnormally shaped sperm. According to the American Fertility Association, both men and women should be evaluated for infertility because, "statistically speaking, it's as likely to be a reproductive glitch in the male as it is in the female. In fact, infertility is an equal- opportunity disease that afflicts roughly 6 million people in the U.S. -- that's one in 10 couples. In 20 percent of these couples, it's attributable entirely to a male factor. In another 30 to 40 percent, it is a combination of both male and female." Semen testing with special attention to morphology (or shape) is one of the best predictors of appropriate levels of treatment for men with fertility challenges.

-- Dr. Joey Bird, reproductive endocrinologist

at the Fertility Center; member, Chattanooga

Hamilton County

Medical Society

Readers: To submit a question for a medical doctor, e-mail it to Clint Cooper at See this space each week for answers.

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