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The Science Is Consistent


By, Christine Wilson, PhD, ANP-BC, FNP-B

May 20, 2022

The science is consistent: today males produce fewer sperm than past decades, and the sperm are less healthy.  This is predicted to worsen as the trend continues to rise and most research suggests recent changes in some US state laws may, or may not, be worsening the situation.  

In 2019, a group of researchers at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health conducted a study at Massachusetts General Hospital fertility clinic to determine how marijuna injured sperm.  Their research suggested instead that marijuana improved sperm count.  However the authors recognized several limitations in their study, concluding that while low levels of marijuana may be beneficial, high levels were not. They also suggested that the result may not be causal but rather related to men with high testosterone levels exhibiting riskier behavior such as marijuana smoking.1

Dr. Daniel Mazur at Urology Associates in Colorado has focused his career on male infertility publishing leading research and presenting nationally on the topic of infertility. In May of 2020, Dr. Mazur published stating “men who use marijuana more than once a week have nearly a 30% reduction in sperm count and sperm concentration, and this has been shown to last five to six weeks even after they stop using marijuana.”2

When conflicting theories occur, a systematic review of multiple studies can sometimes provide clarity.  Such a study was done using PubMed from inception to 2018 using multiple search terms for inclusion.  After review for scientific rigor, 48 studies were then evaluated.  This analysis found cannabis reduced sperm count, concentration, motility, and viability.  In addition, it caused abnormalities in sperm morphology, inhibiting capacitation and fertilizing capacity.3  (Read on for a description of these terms).

So where should a fertility expert open up a practice?  Well, as of April 2022, 37 states, the District of Columbia and the territories of Puerto Rico, Guam, the Northern Mariana Islands and the US Virgin Islands have all legalized medical marijuana. But maybe even a better place to practice is one of 18 states, Washington, DC, Guam and the Northern Mariana Islands who have legalized the adult use of marijuana for pleasure.4 

If we don’t believe any of the above, what should you do?  Well, one study says a small amount of cannabis might improve sperm.  But all those other studies (48) suggest otherwise.  If only you could really understand what was affecting the sperm…

But wait, On October 18, 2021 Path Fertility launched SpermQTTM. Path Fertility sought to raise the standard of care for male fertility testing by providing critical new information about sperm quality that can predict fertility potential and guide treatment planning. 

Path SpermQT is an epigenetic sperm quality test that analyzes sperm quality based on epigenetic patterns.  Epigenetics can impact the path to pregnancy, even when a semen analysis is within normal range.  Unlike the current standard semen analysis, this breakthrough epigenetic technology provides a molecular, DNA-based profile of epigenetic quality factors and assesses the sperm’s ability to fertilize the egg once it gets there.  

DNA methylation is looking at the literal addition of methyl groups that sit on top of the DNA itself that can modify the functionality and expression of the gene.  With methylation, there may not be any breaks or loss of integrity in the DNA (which is what a fragmentation test would look for) but there are methyl groups sitting on top of the DNA itself (circled).  These methylation groups can alter sperm performance.  

Path Science high resolution
Figure used by permission of author: Carrell, D.T. 5

Knowing this valuable information ahead of time means couples can save time and money while improving pregnancy rates by moving on to treatments that are more likely to succeed.  SpermQTTM is 6 times more predictive of pregnancy than standard semen analysis6 and the test is done at home!

Is this a test that might help you before you spend money on expensive treatments?  If so, what are you waiting for?  Oh yes, how do you get the test?  It is easy!

Meenta wants to help you do just that. We believe in providing ACCESS to validated tests to every Individual, Healthcare Provider & Organization. Our goal is to empower the end user. Visit the Meenta Marketplace, or call customer service at  1-888-204-5303.  Also, be sure to stay connected with us on LinkedIn!


Sources:

1https://www.hsph.harvard.edu/news/press-releases/marijuana-smoking-sperm-counts/

2https://denverurology.com/urology-blog/how-does-marijuana-effect-male-fertility/#:~:text=In%20fact%2C%20men%20who%20use,after%20they%20stop%20using%20marijuana.

3Payne KS, Mazur DJ, Hotaling JM, Pastuszak AW. Cannabis and Male Fertility: A Systematic Review. J Urol. 2019 Oct;202(4):674-681. doi: 10.1097/JU.0000000000000248. Epub 2019 Sep 6. PMID: 30916627; PMCID: PMC7385722.

4https://www.cnet.com/news/politics/where-marijuana-is-legal-in-the-us/#:~:text=As%20of%20April%202022%2C%2037,New%20Hampshire%2C%20New%20Jersey%2C%20New

5Carrell, D.T. (2019). The Sperm Epigenome: Implications for Assisted Reproductive Technologies. In: Baldi, E., Muratori, M. (eds) Genetic Damage in Human Spermatozoa. Advances in Experimental Medicine and Biology, vol 1166. Springer, Cham. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-030-21664-1_3

6Path SpermQT White Paper

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