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13 January 2017

Male Infertility and Its Causes and Treatments

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Written by Dr. R K Sharma
About one third of fertility issues are due to male infertility. While IVF and IUI have almost driven it to non existence, here are causes of male infertility.

About one third of fertility issues are due to male infertility. While IVF and IUI have almost driven it to non existence, here are causes of male infertility.

Infertility affects approximately 1 out of every 6 couples. An infertility diagnosis is given to a couple who are unable to conceive over the course of one year. When the problem lies with the male partner it is referred to as male infertility. Male infertility factors contribute to approximately 30% of all infertility cases, and male infertility alone accounts for approximately one-fifth of all infertility cases.

Main Causes of Male Infertility:

1. The most common causes of male infertility are related to sperm — usually problems with sperm count and the quality of that sperm. Sperm-related problems include:

a) Low sperm count

b) Sperm that don’t move quickly enough — they die before they reach the egg

c) Sperm that are not formed correctly

d) Seminal fluid that is too thick — sperm can’t move around in it very easily

e) No sperm

2. Another cause of male infertility is a problem with ejaculation. In some cases, tubes inside the male reproductive organs are blocked. If so,   you may have a hard time ejaculating, or nothing comes out when you have an orgasm. Sometimes, the ejaculation goes backward from the prostate into the bladder instead of out of the body.

3. In some cases, there is no known reason for someone’s infertility. This is called unexplained infertility. This can be a very frustrating diagnosis. But even if you are diagnosed with unexplained male infertility, you still have treatment options to consider.

Male Infertility Treatment options include:

  1. Surgery
  2. Medication
  3. Hormone Treatment
  4. If a man’s sperm are not able to fertilize an egg, donor sperm can be used.

Two of the most Common Treatments are:

1. Intrauterine Insemination (IUI): Semen is collected from a man. A procedure called “sperm washing” is done to separate the healthy sperm from the rest of the semen. A health care provider puts the sperm directly into the uterus. This puts the sperm closer to the egg. It cuts down the time and distance sperm have to travel to reach an egg.

2. In Vitro Fertilization (IVF): A woman takes medication to make several eggs ripen. A health care provider removes the eggs. Semen that has been collected from a man is put together with the eggs in a lab. After some eggs have been fertilized, one or more of them is put into the uterus. Pregnancy happens if one or more of them implant in the wall of the uterus. Especially to counter male infertility issues, ICSI & IMSI techniques are used to improve the chances of conceiving. 

Your healthcare provider can help you figure out what treatments may work best for you and your partner.

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