By: Dr. Spence Pentland (Vancouver Fertility Acupuncturist)
There are many genetic reasons for male infertility, and many are still being discovered. The fact that many of these can be passed down to our offspring puts a new responsibility on people wishing to become parents.
Epigenetics is a new area of genetic science that studies how lifestyle affects the way our genes express themselves in our lives. Yes, this means that the way we live our lives effects whether or not certain genetic factors will manifest or not. Conclusion; live a healthy life and reduce the incidence of genetic disease. The following are just a few male genetic causes of infertility.
Y Chromosome Microdeletion: You can lead a perfectly normal life and still have this. This means that you have missing genes in the ‘Y’ chromosome, this is the male chromosome (remember grade 11 biology, XY = man). Men with reduced sperm parameters may have this genetic disorder. But listen, the real kicker with this is, that it will be passed down to your son.
Chromosomal Translocation: Basically, this is a rearrangement of your chromosomes. Usually, the carriers do not know they have any issues, they are asymptomatic. Although, when they create offspring, it often leads to miscarriages or children with abnormalities (i.e. Down Syndrome). Genetic testing is recommended, especially after repeated miscarriage.
Klinefelter’s Syndrome: If you have no sperm, or very low count, small firm testis, and abnormal breast development, you have have XXY sex chromosomes, or, Klinefelter’s. If you have very low counts, get this tested and get genetic counselling for your options. There is a low incidence, but it does sometimes pass down to the offspring.
Kallmann Syndrome: Otherwise known as ‘hypothalamic hypogonadism’ (aka, a gland in the brain is not making enough hormone, therefore your testis are small and unproductive). If puberty onset was slow or late, sperm shows poor parameters, and your sense of smell is poor or absent (anosmia), then get your LH & FSH hormones tested.
Dr. Spence Pentland is a board licensed Doctor of Traditional Chinese Medicine, and certified Fellow of the American Board of Oriental Reproductive Medicine. Since 2004 Spence has focused exclusively on the treatment of reproductive disorders in both men and women in Vancouver Canada. To book an appointment or for a free 15 minute phone consultation visit DrSpencePentland.com (Vancouver fertility acupuncture). He and his wife are also ‘bringing sexy back to baby-making’ with their new line of ‘fertility friendly’ men’s underwear!