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For couples struggling with infertility or subfertility, Fertility Center and Applied Genetics of Florida, led by the distinguished Dr. Julio E. Pabon, offers expert reproductive care and specialized evaluation and treatment options. Dr. Pabon, with a decade of medical training, including research at Baylor College of Medicine and a Chief Resident distinction, brings a wealth of experience in reproductive endocrinology and infertility to the center. This article will explore the significance of Dr. Pabon’s expertise and the critical role of sperm analysis in the diagnosis and treatment of male infertility. It will also delve into the importance of choosing a specialized facility for accurate sperm testing.
Expertise at Fertility Center and Applied Genetics of Florida
Dr. Julio E. Pabon is a leading reproductive endocrinologist and infertility subspecialist with a career spanning over two decades. His qualifications include ten years of medical training, a comprehensive residency in the University of Texas, and subspecialty training at the prestigious University of Louisville Reproductive Endocrinology Fellowship. Dr. Pabon’s extensive experience extends to evaluating and treating both male and female patients since 1993, with a specific focus on the hormonal and genetic aspects of male subfertility.
Fertility Center and Applied Genetics of Florida strictly adheres to the guidelines set forth by the State of Florida, national standards, and international best practices, ensuring that patients receive the highest quality care. The center aligns with the latest guidelines from the World Health Organization, staying at the forefront of reproductive medicine.
Understanding Semen Analysis and Its Significance
The initial step in evaluating male infertility is understanding the importance of accurate semen analysis, as it forms the foundation for diagnosis and treatment. Semen analysis measures various parameters of sperm health, providing insights into male fertility potential. Most reproductive endocrinologists and infertility specialists define infertility as the inability to conceive a normal pregnancy after one year of trying. This definition was recently updated to include women over 35 who have tried to conceive for six months, considering the decline in fertility potential as women age.
The choice of facility for semen analysis is of paramount importance. Dr. Pabon emphasizes the need for these tests to be conducted in facilities specializing in human reproduction and in vitro fertilization (IVF). Such centers have the expertise required for quality control, clinical review, clinical correlation, and follow-up, all essential for accurate results. In the field of reproductive medicine, experience is a critical factor in achieving accurate and reliable results.
The Pitfalls of Inaccurate Semen Analysis
Dr. Pabon and many reproductive medicine experts recommend that clinical decisions be based on semen analyses performed in fertility centers. Inaccurate reports can lead to unnecessary delays and misinformed patients. Unfortunately, there are common instances where patients were falsely reassured by incorrect semen analysis reports. One frequent error involves overestimating the percentage of normal cells in the sample, particularly in the morphology test. Accurate interpretation of sperm morphology involves meticulous examination under high magnification, rating the cells for normalcy, and counting them. Overreporting normal morphology can cast doubt on the accuracy of other parameters.
Understanding Semen Analysis Parameters
The results of a semen analysis are based on parameters established through extensive studies. According to the World Health Organization’s latest report, an individual parameter is considered abnormal if it falls below the 5th percentile of a fertile population. Even if all results fall within the “normal” range, they may still be relatively low. A low-normal result might require more complex interventions, including in vitro fertilization and intracytoplasmic sperm injection (ICSI) in extreme cases.
The Total Normal Cell Count
One crucial aspect of semen analysis is the total normal cell count, which combines volume, concentration, motility, and morphology. This number determines the overall quantity of normal and viable sperm in the ejaculate. Patients with a total normal cell count below 10-12 million per ejaculate often have low pregnancy rates with intrauterine inseminations (IUI). Such patients may benefit from in vitro fertilization, especially if the female partner is young and both parties understand that the chance of pregnancy through IUI is minimal.
In Vitro Fertilization and Intrauterine Inseminations
Intrauterine inseminations (IUI) involve processing and concentrating the male partner’s semen and delivering it directly into the female partner’s uterus. This method is suitable for couples where the male or female partner has antisperm antibodies, low or abnormal sperm counts, or unexplained infertility. However, IUI relies on natural processes, requiring the sperm to meet the egg in the fallopian tube, making the success of fertilization less predictable.
In contrast, in vitro fertilization (IVF) is a more controlled procedure. It involves hormonal stimulation, egg retrieval, and fertilization in the laboratory before transferring embryos into the uterus. This method offers a higher chance of success, especially for couples with male factor infertility.
The Importance of Expert Semen Analysis
Patients should have their semen analysis and andrology procedures performed by specialists, as found in IVF centers, to ensure accuracy. Consider repeating the test if results are borderline, maintain proper collection protocols, and eliminate habits that could affect sperm quality, such as smoking or substance use.
What to Do with Abnormal Semen Analysis Results
Markedly abnormal results warrant a thorough evaluation by a urologist, an endocrine (hormonal) assessment, and possibly a chromosome analysis. A chromosomal abnormality is detectable in about 5% of cases with very low sperm counts. A comprehensive evaluation can uncover the potential causes of the issue and guide treatment decisions.
Considering Y Chromosome Microdeletion Analysis
In cases of zero sperm count, patients may opt for a Y chromosome microdeletion analysis to determine whether sperm can be surgically obtained for IVF. While this is not the standard of care, it is discussed with patients with severe male factor infertility before IVF and intracytoplasmic sperm injection.
The Impact of Low Sperm Counts on Offspring
Men with severely depressed sperm counts may have male offspring at higher risk of congenital anomalies. Early diagnosis and intervention are essential to mitigate these risks.
Dr. Julio E. Pabon and the Fertility Center and Applied Genetics of Florida offer comprehensive reproductive care and expertise in the evaluation and treatment of male infertility. Semen analysis is a critical diagnostic tool that should be conducted in specialized facilities to ensure accuracy. Understanding the parameters of semen analysis and their implications is essential for couples struggling with infertility. Timely and accurate testing, followed by expert evaluation, can lead to successful treatment and, ultimately, the realization of the dream of parenthood.
1. Fertility Center and Applied Genetics of Florida: Sperm Testing for Male Infertility. [Link](https://geneticsandfertility.com/services/sperm-testing/)
2. American Society for Reproductive Medicine (ASRM): Male Factor Infertility. [Link](https://www.asrm.org/topics/topics-index/male-factor-infertility/)
3. Mayo Clinic: Male Infertility. [Link](https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/male-infertility/symptoms-causes/syc-20374773)
4. The American Urological Association (AUA): Male Infertility. [Link](https://www.auanet.org/guidelines/male-infertility)
5. The National Institutes of Health (NIH): Male Infertility. [Link](https://www.nichd.nih.gov/health/topics/male-infertility)
6. World Health Organization (WHO): Laboratory Manual for the Examination and Processing of Human Semen. [Link](https://www.who.int/publications/i/item/9789240045474)
By seeking professional guidance and understanding the results of sperm testing, couples can work together to address male infertility and increase their chances of realizing their dream of starting a family, with the Fertility Center of Florida as their trusted partner in this journey.