Sleep Apnea Linked with Male Infertility

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Over the past two decades, there have been a number of studies suggesting that men’s sperm counts have been steadily declining and male infertility increasing. Now research out of Spain and published in the journal Sleep suggests a connection between sleep apnea and decreased sperm production and male infertility.

Michael Eisenberg, MD, a Stanford expert in male fertility, thinks the results are important but inconclusive. When reached for comment he told me:

My research focuses on the links between a man’s overall health and his reproductive health, so this study has a lot of connections. I think it shows another health factor that can impact male infertility; we are seeing sleep apnea more and more commonly, and here’s something showing a link with decreased sperm production. A big drawback of the study is that before we can incorporate it in clinical practice the research needs to be replicated in humans.

The research, conducted collaboratively by research institutions in Spain, induced intermittent hypoxia (lack of oxygen) in male mice to mimic sleep apnea. These mice, along with a control group who had been experiencing normal oxygen levels, were mated, and researchers compared the numbers of pregnant females and fetuses, which were significantly lower for the hypoxic group.

Source: Scope Blog

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