Male infertility can be caused by a variety of different conditions. One of the most common is issues with your sperm. To test for male sperm issues your physician will send your semen to a lab, and ensure that you have an acceptable number of sperm present to impregnate. Depending on your sperm count your physician will normally recommend insemination first.
Insemination is a procedure where the sperm is collected and concentrated to increase the chances of pregnancy. This is an extremely safe infertility treatment option, and oftentimes can stop male infertility in its tracks. In the event of insemination failing, you may be directed to try ICSI, or intracytoplasmic sperm injection. ICSI is a infertility treatment option where the doctor injects a single sperm from you into your partner’s egg. This procedure is done in the lab.
When fertilization is successful the doctor inserts the embryo into your partner’s uterus, much like in vitro fertilization or IVF. ICSI is a commonly recommended course of action if you have undergone a vasectomy or experience retrograde ejaculation. Retrograde ejaculation occurs when semen is ejaculated backwards to the bladder instead of forwards, through the penis. This is a male fertility issue that is easily remedied. Sperm is removed directly from the testicles and used to fertilize the egg.
An additional option for retrograde ejaculation is less common, but still available. Sperm may be retrieved from the bladder, washed and used for the purposes of fertilizing the egg.
There are a small percentage of cases where male infertility is a byproduct of imbalances in common hormones. These issues arise most commonly in men treated with certain drugs or hormones. Counteracting drugs like gonadrotropins, GnRH, and bromocriptine can be prescribed to boost male sperm production and remedy male infertility.
One option for the case when healthy sperm are unavailable is donor sperm being used to fertilize the egg. Oftentimes couple choose adoption when faced with this option. There are a variety of defects present at birth, or congenital defects that can affect male fertility. Hypogonadism may be congenital or come about later on in life. There are three classifications for this condition. They are classified according to the specific location centered around the hypothalamic-pituitary-gonadal axis:
– Primary, testicles experience disturbance
– Secondary, the pituitary gland experiences disturbance- Tertiary, hypothalamus is subjected to disturbance
Out of congenital ailments Klinefelter syndrome is the most common. Klinefelter syndrome is caused by the presence of an additional X chromosome and results in male infertility.