Dr. Sijo J. Parekattil talks diagnosis and treatment
For a couple trying to conceive, the realization that there may be a physical problem preventing conception can be devastating. Infertility affects approximately 6.1 million individuals throughout the United States. However, the diagnosis doesn’t mean impossible and for couples in Polk County, help is, literally, right around the corner.
“It is a frustrating and emotionally charged journey – but totally worth it,” says Sijo J. Parekattil, M.D., Director, Center for Urology/Robotics Institute, Winter Haven Hospital and Polk County Medical Association member. “The most important keys are to find a specialist that you feel comfortable working with and not to give up hope.”
Here, Dr. Parekattil discusses men’s infertility, often overlooked but as common as women’s infertility.
Central Florida Health News (CFHN): What tests are used to determine if the male partner has a problem with infertility?
Dr. Parekattil: The evaluation of the male partner includes a history, physical exam, and testing such as semen analysis and hormone evaluation.
CFHN: What are the most common problems for a man and what can be done to help?
Dr. Parekattil: Common issues for the male include a varicocele (varicose veins around the testicle that can reduce sperm count and motility), hormonal imbalances, or some type of congenital obstruction in the reproductive tract. Varicoceles can be microsurgically repaired; hormonal imbalances can be treated with specific medications; and certain types of congenital obstruction can be reconstructed. Winter Haven Hospital’s Center for Urology/Robotics Institute is one of the only dedicated robotic microsurgery male infertility centers in the country.
CFHN: Are there any new procedures/medicines to help with men’s infertility?
Dr. Parekattil: Physicians at Winter Haven Hospital’s Center for Urology and the Robotic Institute (www.roboticinfertility.com) offer new novel robotic-assisted, microsurgical procedures for the treatment of varicoceles and congenital obstructions. These procedures offer some new options for male patients with infertility issues. We are also performing vasectomy reversals using the robotic microsurgical platform that seems to be allowing patients to have a faster rate of return of sperm counts. Without treatment, usually only about 10-15 percent of couples who have infertility issues achieve a pregnancy. However, with treatment, these rates may go up to as high as 40-60 percent.
CFHN: How can a couple adjust their sexual habits to promote conception?
Dr. Parekattil: We recommend that couples have intercourse every other day and make it part of their normal routine to reduce possible stress of having to perform on demand. Also, intercourse should be timed for exactly the point of ovulation.
CFHN: What should a couple look for in an infertility specialist?
Dr. Parekattil: Usually centers that offer male infertility services tend to provide more options for the patients as well since male factor infertility tends to be overlooked. It is hard to find male infertility specialists and there are only a few fellowship-trained male infertility specialists in the country.
“It is a stressful time for both partners and really not an issue of who is responsible for infertility. We work with both partners to optimize the fertility potential of each partner so that as a couple, they can achieve their goal of parenthood,” Dr. Parekattil adds. “Having been an infertility patient myself, it helps to let them know that they are not alone and that we will work with them as a team to try to achieve a solution.”