You may think that a problem with infertility lies only with a woman’s reproductive system. But the fact is that in over 35% of cases, male factors contribute to infertility. Being diagnosed with male infertility can be hard to hear. Fortunately, male factor infertility is often treatable.
You’ll likely need to undergo some testing to determine the causes of the problem. But once we know those answers, we can provide treatment. Dr. Edward Ramirez at The Fertility & Gynecology Center - Monterey Bay IVF explains more about the treatments for male infertility.
Some of the causes of low or abnormal sperm count include:
When trying to diagnose male factor infertility, we first need to do some diagnostic tests to determine the exact nature of your problem. Male infertility is usually caused by something involving your sperm.
We need to obtain a sample of your sperm to analyze it, so we can determine your total sperm count, including the number that are abnormal.
A complete absence of sperm can actually be a good thing: it often means that there’s a blockage somewhere in your system, which can be easily corrected with minor surgery.
Hormone evaluations also may help, although issues like low testosterone aren’t usually the cause of male infertility.
A trained specialist like Dr. Ramirez can learn a lot from a physical exam, especially if he detects any visible causes, such as a varicocele.
A biopsy of your testicles can identify if you’re producing healthy sperm in any part of the reproductive system. If so, this can indicate you may have a blockage somewhere.
Genetic tests can sometimes identify causes of infertility, but we may decide to do it at different points in your path to conception.
How we treat male fertility problems depends a lot on what we discover from the testing. Some of the treatments include the following:
If these methods don’t work, you still have more options that may help you conceive. These include collecting your sperm from ejaculated semen or by a needle from the testicle. Then the sperm is introduced to the female egg in one of the following methods:
Sperm are inserted in the woman’s uterus during the time when she’s most fertile. Often, the woman is also taking medications to ensure that she ovulates.
Sperm are mixed with several eggs in a plastic dish (also sometimes called a “test tube,” although this is not entirely accurate). The fertilized eggs are then placed in the woman’s uterus. However, this requires that you have at least some viable sperm.
A single sperm is injected into an egg. This fertilized egg is then implanted in the woman’s uterus. ICSI is most often performed when sperm counts are extremely low or abnormal.
While there’s no substitute for seeking professional attention, some things you can do at home can optimize your chances of having healthy sperm. These include:
If you’ve been having trouble conceiving a child and have been trying for 6-12 months, it’s a good idea to get a consultation. Call Dr. Edward Ramirez at the Fertility & Gynecology Center - Monterey Bay IVF, or request an appointment online.