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San Diego Urologist uses New Concept Called Testicular Mapping to Track Sperm

Does wearing “tighty whities” instead of boxers reduce a man’s sperm count? Many myths of what causes male infertility may serve fodder for jokes, but the condition is no laughing matter for millions of men.

San Diego urologist Martin Bastuba is using a new concept called testicular mapping, a nonsurgical technique that maps the location of sperm in the testicles of men who have poor sperm production, to measure men’s fertility. Mapping also helps to minimize invasive procedures and reduces the potential damage to the testis.

Sperm mapping is a small procedure performed as an inpatient procedure that takes less than an hour to complete under local anesthesia. First, the scrotum area is numbed with local anesthesia, then each testis is approached separately and samples are taken from each side through the scrotal skin. There are no cuts or incisions in the scrotum or testis.

Many things can reduce sperm count and its ability to fertilize the egg. The most common causes of male infertility include abnormal sperm production or function, impaired delivery of sperm, general health and lifestyle issues, and overexposure to certain environmental elements.

Sometimes a man is born with the issues that affect his sperm, while other times it can start later in life due to illness or injury. For example, cystic fibrosis often causes infertility in men. A common issue found can be when the veins on a man’s testicle is too large, causing heat in the area which affects the number or shape of the sperm. About 25% of all infertility is caused by a sperm defect and 40% to 50% of infertility cases have a sperm defect as the main cause, or a contributing cause.

“Historically women have always been tested first for infertility; however, 40% of infertility issues can be traced back to men,” said Dr. Bastuba.

Dr. Bastuba is one of the two percent of urologists in the United States that have the training and expertise to diagnose and treat male infertility. Located in San Diego, many of his patients come from areas all over the south west visit his office for infertility treatments.