Male infertility fix works for men over 40
A varicocele, an enlargement of veins in the scrotum, can impair a man’s fertility. Fortunately, surgery can correct the problem, and now a new study shows the procedure is just as effective for older men as it is for younger men.
“Older men (in the age range of 35-45) with varicocele do benefit from varicocele repair,” Dr. Armand Zini told Reuters Health, “particularly those men with secondary infertility”—i.e., infertility resulting from the varicocele.
Zini from McGill University in Montreal, Canada and his colleagues investigated the influence of age on pregnancy rates among partners of men who had undergone varicocele repair, comparing outcomes for men older and younger than 40 years.
There were no significant differences in the improvement in semen quality, the need for in vitro fertization, or pregnancy rates between older and younger men who underwent varicocelectomy, as the procedure is called, the team reports in the medical journal Urology.
In addition, the researchers looked at men older than 40 who opted for the procedure and those in the same age group who chose not to undergo surgery. The team found that the spontaneous pregnancy rate was significantly greater in the group that underwent varicocelectomy than in the group that didn’t.
“This is the first study to examine the influence of paternal age on pregnancy rates after varicocelectomy,” the authors point out. “The data support the practice of varicocelectomy in older men with infertility, particularly in men with secondary infertility.”
“Men with very poor semen parameters or men with a genetic cause of infertility would least benefit from varicocelectomy,” Zini commented. “A detailed evaluation may uncover other (less common) abnormalities that would be associated with a poor outcome after surgery.”
SOURCE: Urology, July 2008.
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