Causes of Infertility: Misplaced Urinary Opening (Hypospadias)

One of most frequent causes of infertility is a misplaced urinary opening, otherwise known by the medical term Hypospadias. This condition affects men only, and is marked by an abnormal placement of the urinary opening at the tip of the penis. Hypospadias is defined as a urinary meatus opening anywhere along the veritcal line that runs from the tip of the penis itself down to where the penis connects with the scrotum. It is the second most common birth defect that affects the male genitalia, and can prove to be problematic for couples trying to conceive.

What Causes Hypospadias?

Hypospadias does not seem to be genetically linked, although a certain malformation in chromosome 16 in some men has been linked with the condition. It has also been increasing in prevalence in recent decades, and the most recent figure is approximately one case per 125 male births in the United States. Rates vary elsewhere in the world, and in some locations, it may be as rare as one case per every 4000 births or so. Hypospadias is generally not a painful condition and may present no other major problem to the life of the person that it affects. It slightly alters the shape and slant of the penis.

Why Is Hypospadias a Problem for Fertility?

Severe cases of hypospadias can result in problems for couples trying to conceive. The reason for this is that it may become difficult for the semen to enter into the vagina through normal intercourse. The presence of a hypospadias condition in the penis does not necessarily preclude a man from being fertile, however. Rather, it's more common for these conditions to simply make the delivery of semen into the vagina a difficult process. Thus, many other methods of fertility treatment are available as recourses to men facing this problem; in vitro fertilization, GIFT procedures and more all make for viable options in many cases. If you do suffer from hypospadias, consult with a fertility doctor.

Treating Hypospadias

If you'd prefer to avoid using other means of conceiving, you may wish to consider having your hypospadias corrected. The procedure depends upon the exact location of the urethral opening, and some cases may be easier to treat than others. Essentially, the procedure is a surgery that involves rerouting the urethral tube so that it opens at the head of the penis instead of along the shaft somewhere. The surgery is known to be painful and costly, so speak with a urologist for additional information.

Although hypospadias may be a difficult condition to bear through life, most men find that it does not preclude them from having children or raising a family. Speak with a trusted and certified fertility specialist if you have faced this problem as you and your partner have made efforts to conceive. There are a number of ways to get around the problems that hypospadias will introduce to you during this procedure. A urologist can also provide helpful information.

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