How Is Male Infertility Treated?
Posted on September 22nd, 2021
We tend to hear about fertility issues mainly as they relate to women, as though the ability to conceive lies squarely on female reproductive health. The truth is that infertility cases are about evenly split between male factor causes, female factor causes, and unexplained causes. For this reason, fertility specialists often complete testing on both partners before initiating a treatment plan, unless a known and diagnosed issue is already present.
Male Infertility: From Diagnosis to Treatment
A man’s fertility is dependent on the health of his sperm. Some questions a fertility specialist will seek answers to make an assessment include:
- Does his sperm have a high degree of motility or ability to move/swim?
- Is the quantity of his sperm count high?
- Does his sperm have the best possible shape?
If the answer to any or all of these questions is “no”, then it’s possible that a male fertility condition is present.
A fertility specialist will help determine the best possible course of treatment in conjunction with the female partner’s testing results. Treatment plans will depend on individual situations, so it’s entirely possible for two male patients facing a similar infertility diagnosis to be given different courses for treatment. Here are a few examples of treatment you may be asked to consider.
Intrauterine insemination (IUI)
During IUI, sperm is washed to achieve the best possible quality before being placed directly into the female patient’s uterus during the IUI procedure. IUI can be used in cases of mild to moderate male factor infertility, normally where the sperm’s motility is poor. This procedure is considered to be one of the most basic and least invasive forms of fertility care. In cases of more severe infertility, whether male, female, or both, your doctor may advise moving forward with something like IVF treatment instead.
In Vitro Fertilization (IVF)
During IVF, an embryo – which is later placed into the female patient’s uterus – is created in a laboratory setting using the retrieved eggs of the female patient and sperm from the male. In cases where male factor infertility is a concern, your doctor may also recommend using intracytoplasmic sperm injection (ICSI) as well. This is a procedure in which the sperm is directly injected into the unfertilized egg within a laboratory setting.
In severe cases of male factor infertility, patients can consider using a sperm donor to help build their families. Donor banks offer a wide range of profiles where patients can review a donor’s physical characteristics, medical history, familial medical history, education, career, hobbies, etc. Donor-assisted reproduction offers patients the opportunity for the female patient to use their own eggs (if possible) and carry the pregnancy herself.
A diagnosis of male infertility is no reason to panic – modern medicine allows for a variety of treatment options patients can consider. We hope you will reach out to our practice if there are any infertility concerns or questions about potential treatment.