Epidydimitis and fertility/conception?
February 18, 2008 9:07 AM   Subscribe

About a year ago I was diagnosed with epidydimitis, which has become a chronic (but low-level) pain. I am now interested in having a child (to be precise: being a sperm donor for a close friend; not via a clinic). I know that there is some chance of decreased fertility with this disease, but is there any chance the sperm themselves will be weird, mutated, or otherwise unsuitable for fertilizing an egg?

I am 45 years old. Initially, the acute stage was treated with three courses of cipro and anti-inflammatories over about 4 months. The pain has receded to a dull, but relatively constant ache in the eight subsequent months. It is unilateral, on the left side. It was never diagnosed as bacterial, viral or just inflammatory. I have had an ultrasound, which was unremarkable. My doctor indicated quite clearly that there was no communicable infection risk. I've read this lengthy piece (PDF). I can't find any information on whether this disease could damage the sperm or contraindicate pregnancy in any way. I realize sperm are not produced in the epididymis, yet the fact that reduced fertility is not uncommon suggests that there is some influence on the sperm. I realize this is a fairly specific question and I will ask my doctor if necessary, but it seems likely there is a simple answer and it is probably "no".
posted by anonymous to Health & Fitness (3 answers total)
It doesn't contraindicate pregnancy, but depending on the current state of your epididymis, you might have a somewhat low sperm count, as you might have some scarring. Since your epididymitis is unilateral, your count likely won't be a problem. Most men with epididymitis don't have fertility problems in the vast majority of cases; those that do are generally due to difficulty of getting the sperm delivered, not to problems with the sperm themselves. In fact, for particularly motivated people, sperm can actually be aspirated from the testicles themselves to get around transport issues. You likely won't need this.

Even in the event that your sperm are, for whatever reason, "weird," it still isn't a contraindication to trying to impregnate someone. In normal semen, a high percentage of sperm are wonky -- have two heads, are badly formed, swim in circles, etc. Nature favors quantity over quality here. The nice thing about the bad sperm is that they aren't the ones that fertilize the egg for successful implantation.

I apologize if this is overreaching, but it sounds just a little bit like you might be looking for an "out." If this is the case, please think long and hard about pursuing this. Non-anonymous sperm donation is a tough road for a lot of men, so just be very sure that you are 100% on board.
posted by LittleMissCranky at 9:30 AM on February 18, 2008

This isn't quite in response to your question, but...

You need to see a lawyer. Some men who have done a favor for women they know, and become sperm donors, have been sued for child support a few years later.

This is a matter of family law in the state where you live. Just recently a Pennsylvania court found in favor of a man in such a case. On the other hand, this guy in Pennsylvania lost.

At the very least you should get a written contract with the woman where she waives all such rights, but depending on the state you're in even that might not protect you. The law on this is very confused right now, and you need to check it out with competent legal counsel.
posted by Class Goat at 10:41 AM on February 18, 2008

I had a mild bout of epididymitis about 18 months ago. Took some anti-inflammatories, problem went away. Mrs Oz is due to give birth in April. Assuming appropriate fidelity on her part I'd say that means my swimmers were not unduly challenged. YMMV, IANAD etc.
posted by tim_in_oz at 12:14 AM on February 19, 2008

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