Male infertility linked to being overweight, sleep apnea


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When a couple can’t have a child, many people assume it’s an issue with the woman but male factor infertility is just as common.

“It’s something that you don’t really expect,” said Allia Marini, who says infertility is a word she never wanted to hear. “We really just wanted our own biological child that looks like you, has your characteristics.”

Marini and her husband Ibrahim Hassounah saw infertility specialists at Carilion.

“Infertility is broken down into three parts: female factor, male factor and a combined so both male and female,” said Dr. Adrienne Gentry, Carilion reproductive endocrinology and infertility specialist.

“When we first got our results back saying that we had male factor infertility I just kind of just went, we’re not going to have kids, this isn’t going to happen for us,” said Marini.

Doctors said Hassounah needed surgery.

“This journey was really long and challenging,” said Hassounah.

“Many times we can do some type of treatment if we do see sperm and sometimes even if we don’t see sperm in a sample we can go in and extract sperm from the testes,” said Gentry.

That’s when a urologist steps in, as was the case for Hassounah. After two years of doctors appointments and surgeries, they now have a 10-month-old son.

Gentry says men trying to have children should limit alcohol, tobacco and drug use — and stay healthy.

“Here, I’ve seen more and more male factor and I think it’s associated with men who are overweight or who have sleep apnea that hasn’t been diagnosed and treated. It’s crazy that treatment with a CPAP for two or three months completely improves their sperm to normal,” said Dr. Gentry.

Hassounah wants other couples to stay hopeful.

“Keep trying. Don’t give up until you start your family,” he said.

They hope to expand their family.

In this web extra video, Dr. Gentry explains what men go through when their sperm sample is tested:

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