Human reproduction is a complex process, and many couples may have difficulty building their families. Infertility is diagnosed if a man and a woman have been having sex without protection for more than a year and the woman hasn't gotten pregnant. If the woman is 35 or older, infertility can be diagnosed after 6 months of unprotected intercourse without a pregnancy.
Fortunately, having infertility does not automatically mean you won’t be able to have a child with your partner. There are many treatments and procedures now available that can improve your chances of getting pregnant.
What Exactly Is Male Infertility?
Male infertility is a common reason that a couple may struggle to conceive. This typically means that a man does not have enough sperm that are released to result in a pregnancy with regular intercourse or if a man is not able to complete sexual intercourse because a problem with the erection or ejaculation.
Causes of Male Infertility
A variety of biological and environmental factors might have an impact on your fertility. Among the possibilities are the following:
Azoospermia: having no sperm released with ejaculation at all. This may be due a problem with the reproductive tract or the inability to produce sperm cells. It can also be related to a hormonal problem or a genetic issue.
Oligospermia: lower than normal sperm production. This can also can be related to a hormone, anatomic, or other medical issue.
Genetic Diseases: Klinefelter's syndrome, myotonic dystrophy, microdeletion, and other genetic illnesses can cause severe sperm abnormalities or azoospermia (a complete lack of sperm with ejaculation).
Malformed Sperm: Malformed Sperm may have trouble fertilizing the egg.
Medical Conditions: Diabetes, several autoimmune disorders, cystic fibrosis, and various infections are examples of medical problems.
Some drugs, supplements, and hormone treatments can cause the sperm to be abnormal.
Varicoceles are a condition in which the veins on your testicles are larger than usual, causing the testicle to be warmer than normal. This can affect the development of your sperm.
Cancer treatments include chemotherapy, radiotherapy, and/or surgery to remove the testicles (one or both). We offer urgent sperm cryopreservaiton appointments before a planned cancer treatment.
Substance abuse, including alcohol, smoking, and drug usage can affect sperm production resulting in lower amounts or abnormal sperm.
Testicular trauma or a history of an undescended testicle may affect sperm production.
Hormonal disorders: Disorders affecting the brain or pituitary glands can cause problems with sperm production.
What Are The Signs Or Symptoms Of Infertility In Men?
There are typically not any major signs of an abnormal sperm count unless it is related to other medical conditions or treatments. The only way to know for sure if the sperm is normal is to do a semen analysis or a test to look at and count the sperm after ejaculation.
How Does Infertility Affect Men?
Describing infertility's complete psychological and emotional effects on a couple that wants to have children is challenging. Depression and feelings of loss, sadness, inadequacy, and failure are frequent in both men and women struggling to conceive. Individuals or couples who are experiencing any of these feelings may wish to seek professional assistance from mental health specialists such as a therapist or psychiatrist who has experience with infertility. Such services can assist you in managing the emotional effect of infertility and provide support when undergoing fertility treatments.
The Role of Male Infertility in Fertility Treatment Plans
Male factor infertility treatment depends on exactly where and how the issue is occurring and options may include:
Varicocele or duct obstruction surgical repair
Hormonal treatments to increase sperm production
Infection treatment with antibiotics
Surgical retrieval of sperm from the testicle
Intrauterine insemination (IUI)
In vitro fertilization (IVF)
Intracytoplasmic sperm injection (ICSI)
When male factor infertility is caused by a complete lack of sperm in the ejaculate this is called azoospermia. This can caused by an obstruction/blockage (obstructive azoospermia), which is frequently induced by a previous vasectomy or birth abnormalities, or a hormonal or genetic issue.
Surgical treatment can harvest sperm from the vas deferens, epididymis, or testis for use in an IVF cycle(s) to conceive. Because the surgically extracted sperm are immature, fertilization is accomplished by injecting selected sperm directly into the egg using a technique known as intracytoplasmic sperm injection (ICSI).
Males contemplating this option must consult with a urologist before surgery to help establish the optimum strategy for sperm retrieval, which includes:
Varicocelectomy via Microsurgery (Varicocele)
Outpatient surgery for ligature and excision of a varicocele and ligation of the dilated veins.
Aspiration of Microsurgical Epididymal Sperm (MESA)
MESA is an outpatient microsurgical treatment used to collect sperm from males who have male reproductive duct blockages, such as a past vasectomy or the lack of vas deferens. It is employed in IVF and ICSI procedures.
Extraction of Testicular Sperm (TESE)
The surgical excision of testicular tissue to collect living sperm for use in an IVF+ICSI operation is known as TESE.
Timing of Sperm Retrieval
MESA and TESE procedures are timed to coincide with the egg retrieval step of the IVF cycle wherever possible. Surgical sperm retrieval can be accomplished and frozen (cryopreserved) for future use, before the IVF cycle begins. MESA and TESE sperm extraction may yield enough sperm to support numerous IVF cycles. These treatments can be done as an outpatient with anesthesia to eliminate pain or discomfort.
Audubon Fertility: The Best Clinic for Infertility Treatment
At Audubon fertility we provide evidence based and highly effective treatment for male infertility. Testing for male infertility typically begins with a semen analysis. The sperm is collected and analysed at the andrology laboratory next door to the Audubon Fertility clinic at the Audubon Surgery Center & Fertility Laboratory. If the semen analysis is abnormal, the next step is blood work and an examination by a urologist to determine whether there are any hormonal or anatomic issues that could be corrected. We fully evaluate both members of a couple to understand the full picture and determine the best treatment plan to help you|achieve pregnancy.