Male Infertility Treatments Offer Hope

Did you know that male infertility can contribute just as much as female infertility to a couple's inability to conceive? Fortunately, the majority of male infertility cases can either be treated directly, or by the use of fertility drugs and/or assisted reproduction technologies.

Step One: Identifying the Cause of Male Infertility

In order to treat male infertility, it is important to correctly identify the cause or causes. While there are instances of unexplained male infertility, several tests exist today that can help pinpoint the problem more specifically.

To diagnose infertility, the first test men undergo is semen analysis, in which they provide a semen sample for analysis in a lab. Semen analysis is able to measure sperm quality, which is comprised of important factors such as sperm count, sperm shape, sperm motility (movement), or the rare lack of sperm.

Other causes of male infertility include previous surgeries, certain medical or physical conditions, and problems with ejaculations or erections.

Step Two: Male Infertility Treatment Options

Depending on the identified cause of infertility, the following are some the treatment options that may be recommended.

•1) Fertility drugs to improve sperm production

•2) Surgery, i.e. to repair ejaculatory duct obstruction or to repair a varicocele (a condition where there is an abnormal dilation of veins within the sperm cord)

•3) Fertility Drugs aimed at improving sperm production

•4) Intrauterine Insemination (IUI), commonly known as Artificial Stimulation (AI). In this procedure sperm are placed directly into the uterus via a thin, flexible catheter. Its advantages include its relative simplicity and low cost. IUI is helpful to treat problems such as poor sperm quality, as it situates sperm directly near the egg in order to facilitate fertilization. IUI can be used alone or in combination with fertility drugs.

•5) In Vitro Fertilization (IVF), a procedure in which eggs are removed from the woman's body and placed with the sperm to be fertilized in a lab. After sitting in a special culture for three to five days, one or more of the most "promising" embryos are transferred back into the woman's uterus. This method of treatment helps to circumvent certain sperm defects in men and problems with fertilization. This procedure is expensive and complex and is therefore usually recommended after other treatment options have failed.

•6) Intracytoplasmic Sperm Injection (ICSI) to treat severe cases of sperm abnormalities. While IVF places eggs next to sperm in order to facilitate fertilization, in this procedure sperm are injected directly into an egg. This treatment method may benefit men with poor sperm motility since sperm movement is removed from the picture.

Summary

In summary, with so many treatment options available today, there is much hope that men who suffer from male infertility will be able to conceive!

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