Male Factor Infertility
While infertility is often thought of as female issue, about half of all infertility cases stem from male reproductive problems. Since sperm health is vital to conception, it is important to have your sperm evaluated if you are struggling with infertility. Fortunately, many causes of male infertility are treatable.
MALE FERTILITY TREATMENT
Some couples with infertility caused by disorders of sperm number or function may be successfully treated with either intrauterine insemination (IUI) or in vitro fertilization (IVF). In the case of the IUI cycle, a woman is typically taking fertility drugs to stimulate the development of more than one egg in the same cycle. This can be effective in couples when there is a mild abnormality in sperm counts. However, when there is severe impairment of sperm count, motility, or shape, IVF is usually the best treatment option for infertile couples.
Intracytoplasmic Sperm Injection (or ICSI)
ICSI has revolutionized the way we can treat male infertility. Even men with no sperm in their ejaculated sample, pregnancy may be possible with this technique. In this circumstance, a urologist can extract sperm from the man’s epididymis or testicle for use in IVF. With ICSI, a specialized glass needle is used to inject a single normal sperm directly into the center (cytoplasm) of the egg under the guidance of a specially fitted microscope. The success rate with this technique varies considerably among IVF programs and is highly dependent upon the skill of the embryologist performing the procedure.
Candidates for ICSI include men with:
- Severely compromised sperm parameters, including concentration, motility, morphology, or antisperm antibodies.
- Blockage or absence of the vas deferens, where sperm is surgically collected by microsurgical epididymal sperm aspiration (MESA) or testicular biopsy for ICSI.
- Those who had low or failed fertilization on prior IVF attempts.
- Unknown infertility after all diagnostic tests are completed. Our IVF pregnancy rates with ICSI are equivalent to those of couples with non-male factor infertility who do not require ICSI.
Couples who are dealing with severe cases of male factor infertility or if the male is a carrier of genetic condition and not pursuing preimplantation genetic testing, donor sperm is a treatment option. Donor sperm can be used for intrauterine insemination or in vitro fertilization.