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There are a wide range of contributors to male infertility, including genetic, structural, hormonal, and functional problems. One such cause of infertility in men, is Hemachromatosis.
Hemachromatosis (pronounced "he-muh-crow-muh-toe-sis) is a condition where iron, normally carried within the bloodstream, is deposited in body organs, including the reproductive organs. The body does not appropriately process iron which, once in the organs, causes tissue damage. Iron can accumulate in the testes, effectively impairing the body's ability to produce healthy sperm. In essence, the sperm get heavy metal poisoning.
The cause of hemochromatosis is genetic - it is very common in Northern European peoples, with as many as one in every 10 persons of Northern European descent carrying the defective gene.
Treatment primarily consists of removal of blood (blood letting) to reduce the total iron levels, in addition to treating the subsequent organ damage, limiting alcohol intake and increasing your intake of foods that prohibit iron production.
Testing for hemachromatosis would be conducted by your Fertility Specialist in the course of your evaluation for male infertility, if you are of Northern European descent.
|Jennifer Mathes, Ph.D.|