Improving a man’s fertility by the equivalent of wearing damp underpants is the basis of a new approach to male infertility that has been developed by American researchers.
There are said to be 26 babies who would not have been born if their fathers had not been prepared to wear a special outfit for cooling the scrotum.
The underwear is designed to improve sperm quality by cooling the testicles. It does this by evaporating liquid, which takes away heat. This was done by Dr. Adrian Zorgniotti of the New York University School of Medicine.
Half The Infertile Couples Conceived
In a paper presented to the American Urological Association, he and his colleagues have shown that in the most favorable circumstances more than 50 percent of couples who have had an infertile marriage for two years or more are rewarded by pregnancy after the male partner wears the cooling device for at least 16 weeks.
Many of the men were infertile because of unknown reasons. Some were infertile because of events like mumps. And many of them had surgery to fix veins in their scrotum, which is a surgery to help keep the temperature down in that area.
Examining their sperm microscopically enabled doctors to calculate what they called the Motile Oval Index, which helps to identify those men who are likely to benefit most from the new treatment.
The necessary apparatus, which involves a reservoir of water or water and alcohol, is produced by Repro-Med, of New York. The company was set up by Dr. Zorgniotti and an engineer, Andrew Sealfon, a former patient who designed the hardware. Sealfon says that the birth of his young daughter is a direct result of the device.
Temperature’s Effect Upon Sperm Quality
The effect of temperature on sperm quality has long been recognized. Doctors tend to give homely advice such as giving up Y-fronts and cold-sponging before bed. The advance pioneered by the Americans is, however, the first to take a more active approach to cooling.
The British male infertility specialist, Dr. Ann Jequier, of Queen’s Medical Centre, Nottingham, pointed out that before individuals could possibly benefit from the new treatment, it would be necessary to establish that raised scrotal temperature was the most likely cause of their problem.
She also said that sperm quality is subject to large variations in normal men and further research was necessary before the American claims could be validated.
According to Dr. Jequier, “If you take a group of couples with one year’s infertility, 30 to 40 percent will be pregnant by the end of the second year without any treatment at all.”