Of those, 30 percent are attributed to the male partner, 30 percent to the female and the remainder to either both partners or to unknown causes, according to the American Society for Reproductive Medicine.
The ASRM estimates that 85 percent to 90 percent of infertility cases can be effectively treated with drug therapy or surgical procedures. Less than 3 percent require advanced reproductive technologies, such as in vitro fertilization, but those techniques can be costly. The ASRM cites an average IVF cost of $12,400 per cycle in the United States.
"One implication of this work is that a simple lifestyle maneuver could shift the care from high-tech intervention to low-tech or no-tech," Turek said. "Couples really prefer having kids at home and not with technology. This is a way to help them do that." Turek advises men who would like to conceive a child to "treat your body like a temple: Eat well, sleep well and take good care of yourself."
The studys 11 patients were identified on the basis of repeated exposure to wet heat and were asked to cease that exposure for three or more months. Five of the patients (45 percent) responded favorably to the cessation of heat exposure and had a mean increase in total motile sperm counts of 491 percent after three to six months. This increase was largely driven by a statistically significant increase in sperm motility among responders, from a mean of 12 percent at the start of the study to 34 percent post-intervention.
Of the six patients who did not see an increase in sperm count or motility, tobacco use emerged as a possible differentiating factor. Five of those patients were chronic tobacco users with a significant smoking history, in contrast to only three occasional smokers in the responder group. No other potential gonadotoxic factors harmful to the male gonad were identified.