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Read This If You And Your Partner Have Tried Everything To Combat Fertility

New male fertility test has the potential to give couples insight on infertility.

January 5, 2021
Brooke Barash

We often talk about having children as if it comes naturally. And for some couples, it does. For others, fertility is a tricky and frustrating business. Sometimes, the reason behind the struggle is apparent, but while others, well, not so much. The problem here is where the conversation begins and ends--female fertility. 

While there are many contributing factors to a woman’s ability to conceive, there’s another integral element to the equation. Placing more focus on male fertility could provide some much-needed answers for couples. Fortunately, there are new methods of testing fertility, specifically for men. Keep reading for more information on this life-changing new development!

man contemplating infertility
We know that male fertility exists but what does it look like? Image courtesy of  Pexels.


A Quick Rundown Of Male Infertility

About fifteen percent of couples struggle with infertility. Sometimes, the process of getting to the bottom of what’s causing difficulty can be long and arduous. Still, we can all agree that accruing more knowledge is a great place to start. 

The difficult thing about male fertility issues is that they often aren’t as apparent as their female counterparts. One of the most telling things doctors look for is time. 

To be considered infertile, a man must continually fail to get a woman pregnant for at least a year. Since this is typically the marker for male fertility issues, many don’t know there’s something amiss until they try.

What Are The Symptoms?

Here are a few signs of male infertility you need to look out for--

  • Sexual dysfunction 
  • Decreased facial or body hair 
  • Inability to smell
  • Low sperm count
  • Recurrent respiratory infections
  • Pain, swelling or bump in the testicle area

If you notice any of these signs after failing to conceive, you might consider consulting your doctor. 

A vile related to male infertility test: Capstone
As new technological advancements like IVF came to be, certain processes within the male reproductive system fell by the waist side. Image courtesy of Pexels.


An Important But Forgotten Piece 

When we think about male infertility, sperm count and motility are what usually come to mind. And it’s true, those two facets of reproduction are somewhat important, but there’s one more you probably aren’t familiar with--sperm capacitation. 

What Is It?

When sperm seek an egg to fertilize, they go through a physiological change to penetrate the egg. The shift in question doesn’t refer to structure, but instead, chemicals. 

Since the female reproductive system can be an intense environment for outsiders, sperm must acclimate in a way that allows them to survive long enough to get to the egg, let alone fuse with it. 

Without the ability to capacitate, the ability to conceive is non-existent. 

How Does It Work?

The thing about sperm capacitation is that it’s elusive. Scientists have agreed that it’s a necessary process but haven’t been able to pin down its inner workings. So far, they’ve decided upon a three-step order of operations. 

  1. Sperm is transferred into the female reproductive system by way of ejaculation. 
  2. Once the sperm venture towards the egg, their chemical compositions begin to transform. They become equipped with a sticky substance that complements the egg’s structure. This stage is called capacitated acrosome spermatozoa.
  3. Here, the chemical change is complete, which means the sperm are ready to fertilize the egg.

doctor researching sperm capacitation

Fertility research has sure come a long way. We once only had the means to fix problems after the fact. Now, we’re gaining enough insight to prevent them. How cool is that? Image courtesy of Pexels.

A Litmus Test For Male Fertility

A research team at Cornell University is breaking ground with ‘The Cap-Score Test’--a new method of examining male fertility. 

Rather than testing sperm count and motility, this test measures their ability to capacitate--an often-overlooked factor.

In emphasizing its importance, the author of the study, Dr. Alexander Travis, says--

“Fertility exists in degrees; as long as a man produces some sperm that can swim, he has some level of fertility. But it is the functional ability of those sperm to fertilize an egg that influences the odds that a couple will become pregnant.”

The Study

During clinical trials, Cap-Score was used in six separate fertility clinics. The results, Dr. Travis said, remained consistent across facilities and maternal demographics. 

Those findings are telling. Despite environment and maternal age, the predictive efficacy for the test proved sound. 

Regarding the men themselves, the study also compared the Cap-Score results of 2,000 men dispersed in 22 clinics to a control group of fertile men with young children or a pregnant partner. The cap-scores of fertile men existed on a bell-curve while men questioning their fertility were generally under the mean. 

After these findings, researchers measured the Cap-Score Test against traditional male fertility tests. They found that men with low cap-scores tended to pass the general examinations. 

What Makes Cap-Score Special?

Cap-Score testing gives couples insight into possible barriers to conception either before or after trying for children. 

“The ‘Cap-Score’ test is designed to provide information on the man’s fertility that they never had before. Now the doctors can discuss these results with the couple, and help them choose a personalized treatment pathway that is right for them to try to get pregnant, including how to improve the man’s fertility.” 

With so many factors contributing to infertility, it’s essential not to overlook male fertility. If you and your partner have been trying to get pregnant and don’t know why, you might consider looking into the Cap-Score test. The clarity it provides could change everything. 




 


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