Male Infertility Treatment
The type of treatment offered to man suffering from infertility will depend very much on the causes of his fertility problems and a number of other factors such as his age, his general health and the length of time for which he has been infertile. When diagnosing male infertility, a fertility specialist or urologist will examine the man's genitals and check for a low sperm count in a sample of the patient's semen. There are a number of possible reasons for a low sperm count, such as a blockage of the tract (the "vas deferens") through which sperm moves from the testicles into the urethra just before ejaculation. A man could have a hormone imbalance which stops his body producing sperm, or he might be unable to ejaculate. The examining fertility specialist will also want to carry out tests on the patient's female partner, as the infertility problem may lie not just with the male.
A specialist in male fertility may prescribe hormone-based drugs to a man whose infertility is caused by a hormone imbalance. One male hormone disorder which causes infertility is hypogonadism. Testosterone Replacement Therapy (TRT) is often used to treat this condition.
Clomiphene (a treatment more commonly prescribed to women suffering from infertility) may be used to treat mild sperm abnormalities and increase a man's sperm count. Clomiphene stimulates the pituitary gland, which in turn sends signals telling the body to produce more sperm-building hormones. In addition to increasing the sperm count, clomiphene may improve sperm motility (the sperm cells' ability to swim and reach an egg).
A range of surgical procedures may be used to correct male infertility. The type of surgery used will depend on the cause of the infertility. For example, a procedure known as varicoele ligation may be carried out on a man whose infertility is caused by varicose veins in his testicles. Other surgical procedures are used to remove blockages and correct distortions of the male reproductive organs.
Medication And Counseling
Talk therapies and/or medication may be used to treat a man suffering from a sexual disorder which is preventing him from becoming a father. For example, a man who is unable to get or maintain an erection, or who suffers from premature ejaculation, may benefit from having his feelings addressed through counseling, or from taking sexual stimulants such as Viagra.
Assisted Reproductive Technologies (ARTs) such as Intrauterine Insemination (IUI) or In-Vitro Fertilization (IVF) can help previously infertile men to become fathers. As part of these procedures, sperm can be removed directly from the bladder or testicles under anesthetic. This bypasses any problems with ejaculation. In IUI, the sperm is then inserted directly into the female partner's uterus, where it has a higher chance of fertilizing her egg. In IVF, the sperm is used to fertilize the female partner's egg(s) in a laboratory. Then the fertilized embryos are then transferred back to the woman's uterus. Sometimes, but not always, the embryos implant and grow into healthy babies. As more than one embryo is generally transferred to the uterus, multiple pregnancies (twins, triplets or more) often result from IVF treatment.
Intracytoplasmic Sperm Injection (ICSI) is a particularly powerful form of IVF. Here, the sperm is injected directly inside the egg. Some experts claim that ICSI overcomes almost all male infertility problems.
Electroejaculation Therapy (EEJ) is a procedure used to retrieve sperm from men suffering from sperm delivery problems. During the procedure, electricity is used to stimulate nerve endings and cause ejaculation to take place. The procedure is carried out under anesthetic and is minimally invasive. EEJ successfully retrieves sperm in 90 % of patients. The sperm is then used in IUI or IVF treatment to achieve pregnancy.
The exact causes of male infertility or a low sperm count cannot always be identified; therefore a fertility specialist may take a trial and error approach to these male infertility treatments in an effort to find something that works for the patient. Unfortunately, some men will not be able to become fathers even after treatment. In this case, sperm donation or adoption may be recommended.