Infertility is mostly a problem for the woman to manage and figure out. Is that a myth? Total fabrications, prejudice, sexism, denial, male insecurity and a cultural norm pushing infertility as a female dysfunction — these are all embedded in young couples’ minds. Such perceptions can lead to expensive, inappropriate, and failed treatment choices for the man and woman . This is the daily challenge standing before Dr. Lani Burkman, the founder, andrologist and chief science officer for LifeCell Dx. Dr. Burkman works hard to change and redirect consumer thinking. LifeCell Dx is an e-diagnostic, male infertility laboratory, with a patented approach for serving infertile couples from all over the world. LifeCell Dx uses digital video files of his sperm that are sent through the Internet to the central lab in Buffalo, NY. “It is not the couples’ fault, since detailed information surrounding the sperm fertility issue is not readily available. It’s similar to the telephone game; by the time the message gets to you, it is fragmented and misleading as it passes from person to person. We acknowledge their frustrations during the personal consultation time and begin by giving them the straight answers they are seeking,” stated Dr. Burkman.
Dr. Burkman does not let her international reputation get in the way of personal time with each patient. Although she is highly experienced with human sperm and egg problems, has developed fertility tests, and made presentations in 7 countries, her first conversation with the male patient or the couple involves simple photos and education. “First, we talk about what goes wrong with sperm and eggs, and how fertilization may be blocked,” she explained. “Educating them beyond the myths, falsehoods and bad information, that is our focus. Spending time answering their questions. We use photos, brief videos of swimming sperm, and a quick look into the microscope to see their own sperm. They love it.” One-on-one, these patients will get the facts; understand lifestyle behaviors (nicotine and marijuana both hit the ability of sperm to attach to the egg), negative work conditions that affect their fertility, plus overall health and nutrition. Dr. Burkman speaks about the following common Top 10 Myths:
1.) Infertility is primarily a female problem.
In fact, infertility is an equally shared gender issue – about 50% of all infertile couples seeking help may have a hidden sperm problem. The informed couple will start their search by asking for an Advanced Semen Analysis. Half of the time, erroneous interpretation of a basic report will take the couple down the wrong path.
2.) You seem to be fine. You have plenty of sperm and they are swimming. After a Basic Semen Analysis, too many men hear these words. A Basic Semen Analysis cannot tell you whether the sperm are working correctly. The Advanced Semen Analysis at LifeCell Dx, or its affiliated clinics, provides physicians and patients with careful basic numbers as well as answers to critical questions: are the sperm behaving like fertile sperm? Is your nicotine exposure, marijuana use, or medication affecting the sperm? Can simple changes improve the sperm quality? Will special steps in a second lab visit improve your fertility chances?
- I don’t need to see a Urologist. That won’t help us get pregnant. If it has been a struggle to get pregnant, then a Urologist should evaluate every man. For pregnancy, the man is 50% of the equation! The male should have a thorough physical exam by a Urologist to check for any abnormalities – sometimes this visit actually saves their life! Half of the men out there resist seeing a Urologist because of shyness, manly pride or a belief that only the woman has a problem. Let’s be fair! An infertile woman may visit the doctor 20 times!!
- Of course my doctors know all about this stuff; I don’t need to do any reading. Your doctors want to help, but many of them have had no training related to sperm or infertility. Often, they refer too quickly to IVF clinics (in vitro fertilization) or talk about donor sperm. Patients need to ask their doctor about getting Advanced Semen Analysis first. This report will answer the question, “Are my sperm fertile?” The detailed sperm explanation will guide you and your doctor to a logical treatment path.
- My sperm count is low; I guess I will not have a biological child. Not true. There are several ways to improve the situation. A Basic Semen Analysis may show a “lower sperm count” and your doctor might state that your chances are slim. First, try each of these options: always have a second semen analysis done by a different lab; search for a lab that performs Advanced Semen Analysis; use longer abstinence for the second test; visit lifecelldx.com for more choices to improve semen quality.
- We should have intercourse twice a day right around ovulation. Not true. Quite a few men have moderate to lower sperm counts. This could be due to too many ejaculations on a daily basis, including masturbation. Each person is different about the number of sperm produced every day by the testes, and the fluids produced by the prostate and other glands. Too much is too few — not enough sperm in each ejaculation. You might consider sex once a day: on the day before expected ovulation, the day of ovulation, and the day after expected ovulation.
- I have a lot of stress in my life, but that should not affect having a pregnancy. The best recommendation is to de-stress your life, as much as you can, when you are both worried about having a baby. This includes the man and the woman. Stretching, breathing, some exercise, watching my weight, getting help with my stress – these are good recipes for fertility.
- Detailed sperm testing is so expensive. What is truly expensive is having a failed IUI treatment or failed IVF procedure. Or maybe 3 failed IUI treatments? Advanced Semen Analysis will cost about $ 400, compared to $ 10,000 for the failed IVF. This often happens because the Basic Semen Analysis led you to believe, “the sperm are fine.”
- Nicotine and marijuana don’t affect sperm that much. For many men, using marijuana and/or nicotine has a negative effect on semen quality and fertilizing ability. Search on the web, do your reading, and ask your doctors for help in quitting nicotine or marijuana use.
- I live far away from LifeCell Dx, so I guess I have to use the labs in my local area. LifeCell Dx is a unique sperm diagnostic company. Ask whether a newly trained Advanced clinic is showing up in your area. Ask whether your doctor wants to provide this Advanced service in your town. Dr. Burkman’s unique patent allows for remote digital testing. Any patient is invited to visit the central LifeCell Dx lab in Buffalo, NY. Make Niagara Falls your mini-vacation during the visit.
“Don’t give up based on the words that you heard, or your Basic Semen Analysis results. Most couples start the conversation with an OB/GYN or primary care doctor, and men can learn from their urologist. So ask questions and find out about Advanced Semen Analysis. We are happy to have you call us directly,” stated Dr. Burkman. Dr. Burkman takes personal and confidential calls at (716) 408-3306 or email: lburkman@lifecelldx.
LifeCell Dx is located in Buffalo, New York. For more information, visit http://www.lifecelldx.com.
Written by Thomas P. McNulty