Monday, November 17, 2008

Why we fix varicoceles.

While it is true that I can be frustrated when varicocele repair does not work, I continue to believe that varicoceles cause infertility in some men and that fixing a varicocele can enable an otherwise infertile couple to have a baby naturally.

This baby, just 12 gestational weeks old, is the result of a successful bilateral varicocelectomy.

The patient initially came to me 1 year ago. He had a very low sperm count, in the 1-2 million range. He was told by another urologist that his only option was IVF. He came to me for a second opinion.

I think that varicoceles cause infertility in men through a variety of mechanisms related to heat, heavy metal, and free radical metabolism. Correcting varicoceles reverses these abnormalities.

Statistics collected over 90 years have continued to show that 50% of couples will get pregnant naturally within 12 months after the man has his varicocele corrected. Research perfomed over the last 10 years have demonstrated that surgical correction of varicoceles improves pregnancy rates for couples who need to resort to IUI (artificial insemination).

In other words, even if you may still need to undergo assisted reproductive techniques, such as IUI or IVF, correcting your husband's varicocele may improve your chances of taking home a baby.

In any case, good luck with your fertility problem if you have one.

Any questions, please feel free to contact me.

Dr S

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