|We welcome Doctor Martin Kathrins as a contributor to Maledoc. Doctor Kathrins is a male infertility specialist with interests in the treatment of men with azoospermia, advances in hormone replacement therapy, and surgical innovation. He completed undergraduate studies in biology at the University of Pennsylvania and medical school at Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons. He finished his urology residency at the University of Pennsylvania in 2014. He hopes to advance medical and surgical treatments for men with infertility. He also has an interest in medical device innovation for a variety of urologic conditions. Welcome, Doctor Kathrins!|
Back in June, 2010, I installed software that made reading this blog easier on handheld devices like iPhones and Android phones. I’ve been doing some upgrading of the guts that make this blog work, and added improvements in how this blog appears on handheld devices. I’ve tested it on an iPhone, but I don’t have an Android phone handy. Let me know how it looks!
About one in 500 women either have no uterus or problems so severe with it that it can’t carry a child. Until recently, these conditions had no medical treatment.
In Fertility and Sterility, Mats Brännström and a team of surgeons at the University of Gothenburg in Sweden report uterus transplantation in nine women, eight of whom who were born without a uterus, and one who had it removed for cancer. Two of the women had complications that required surgical removal of the transplanted organs, but seven women made it to six months with their transplants.
The ultimate test of these transplanted uteri remains: whether they can carry babies. If they can, this would be a great advance for the millions of women afflicted worldwide by problems with their uteri so severe that pregnancy is impossible.
I had the pleasure of meeting Dr. Brännström last month at a conference in Brisbane, Australia. These surgeries are not easy, requiring up to six hours to remove the uterus from the donor and up to 13 hours to transplant it into the recipient. It’s a rare kind of surgeon that puts such great effort into coordinating complex care and developing new techniques in a careful and methodical way. Thanks to his efforts, we may be closer to a time when a woman without a womb isn’t hopeless if she wants to carry her child.
An article in press in Fertility and Sterility is getting a lot of media attention. The study connected men seeking infertility care to a cancer registry in the State where the clinic was located. The researchers found that men with infertility had almost twice the chance of getting cancer and almost three times the chance if the man had no sperm in his ejaculate.
The authors of the study have a few theories about why cancer and male infertility may be connected. Cells need to divide just right to make sperm in the testes, and problems with division could lead to both problems with making sperm and the kind of bad division that makes cancer. It could also be that toxic substances in the environment may lead to both infertility and cancer.
Whatever the reason, we’re beginning to understand that problems with male fertility are just a tip of a much bigger iceberg that involves health in general. It’s more than just about the testicles.