When a couple is ready to get pregnant, it should be the happiest and easiest thing in the world. However, for a large majority of couples, getting pregnant is not so easy. There are a number of complications that can arise, either in the man or woman, that can make getting pregnant extremely problematic.
What is male infertility?
Male infertility is when the man is facing problems with his fertility and cannot get the woman pregnant. 1 in every 6 couples face fertility issues, and 50% of the fertility cases are believed to be linked to the male.
What factors can cause male infertility?
Male infertility can arise due to a number of reasons such as low sperm count, abnormally functioning sperm or blockages that prevent the delivery of sperm from the testicles to the penis. Certain past illnesses or chronic health problems, injuries, lifestyle choices, and other factors can also play a role in causing male infertility.
In most cases, the cause for male infertility is related to the process of making the sperm or the mobility of the sperm. Some men may have sperm that have a short life span. Other men may have a very low sperm count (also known as oligospermia). Some men cannot produce sperm at all (a condition called azoospermia). Most of the time, with the right medical/surgical treatments and lifestyle modifications, these problems can be reversed and cured. Other times, they, unfortunately, cannot. Consulting with the right andrologist/urologist and getting a complete check-up for the right path of treatment is the best way out.
what are the treatments for Male Infertility?
Surgical and Non-surgical Options
The urologist will take a full medical history and do a routine but thorough physical examination. For most men, these steps will be enough to pinpoint the issue. However, some men will require a few extra exams to detect the underlying problem, if needed, such as an ultrasound, blood tests or a hormonal profile. These will help further check the potential cause.
Once the main issue has been found, the doctor will prescribe the best treatment options available. But on a positive note, most male infertility cases are treatable, allowing the couple to fulfill their dreams of having a child of their own.
Male infertility can be treated with or without surgery, or with assisted reproductive technology treatments. The non-surgical options include lifestyle changes, medications, therapy/counseling or hormone-related treatments. Other treatment options include surgery or the use of assisted reproductive technology.
For men who cannot bring out semen (ejaculate) at all, also known as anejaculation, medications will typically be prescribed first. This, by itself, is usually successful. If not, surgery is usually the next option. Surgery can be used to correct a defect or remove a blockage. Varicocele surgery sometimes helps in improving the quality and quantity of sperms in semen.
Types of Assisted Reproductive (ART) Technology
When medication and surgical methods prove to be unfruitful to cure male infertility, your doctor will prescribe other forms of treatment that do not involve having intercourse. These methods are also called assisted reproductive techniques. Some of them are as follows:
- IVF (In-vitro Fertilization): This is when the egg of a woman is retrieved from the ovaries and fertilized by sperm in laboratory conditions. After letting it grow for 3 to 5 days, the fertilized egg (embryo) is put back into the woman’s uterus.
- IUI (Intrauterine Insemination): This involves placing the sperm into the woman’s uterus using a special tube. This method is often used when the man’s sperm count is low, and his sperm has low mobility. Or when there is retrograde ejaculation.
- ICSI (Intracytoplasmic Sperm Injection): This is where a single sperm is physically inserted into an egg. This treatment option helps those having even the most severe male infertility problems. Because of this revolutionary method, up to 80 percent of infertile men have the potential to conceive with their partner.
Today’s highly-advanced, revolutionary medical techniques and procedures have made it possible for couples to conceive and make their dreams come true no matter what the odds are.