Health Beat

Health Beat: Reversing male infertility

MIAMI - It's a day John and his wife, Kristine, thought they'd never see.

"The moment I saw him it was instant love," Kristine recalled of the day the couple's son, JP, was born. "The worst part is when people tell you, 'You just need to relax. It will happen. Don't worry."

But they did worry, so they both got checked out.

"They did some tests and they said, 'You know, you have a problem,' and it's like what?" John recalled.

"In fact, most... 50 percent of the time, it is the man's problem," said Dr. Ranjith Ramasamy, the director of reproductive urology at the University of Miami.

Ramasamy said the most common cause of male infertility is a condition called varicocele.

"This is a condition where the veins around the testes are dilated, the temperature of the testes increases, and affects sperm production," Ramasamy.

Because most men have no symptoms, it has to be diagnosed through physical examination. An injury can be the cause.

"I had a motorcycle accident at the race track back in 2005," said John.

Thanks to Ramasamy, John found out about a procedure using a microscope to reverse the varicocele and open up blood flow to the testes.

"When the veins are tied off, the temperature in the testes cools off, and it takes up to about three months after surgery for the sperm parameters to improve," Ramasamy explained.

Doctors said after the procedure, up to 65 percent of those couples can go on to conceive naturally.

"About two months later is when we found out we were pregnant," said Kristine.

John and Kristine tell other couples not to give up. If they had, little JP might not be here today.

"He's the light in our lives," Kristine said. "I mean, I can't, we can't imagine life without him."

Ramasamay has performed more than 200 of the procedures with a 97-percent success rate. The procedure is covered by most insurance companies.


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