Treatments for male infertility are no longer restricted to artificial insemination, IVF and ICSI. You can conceive your own biological offspring even if your sperm is anomalous in size, shape, or number. Before giving up on all hope and starting to look for affordable IVF options, get your condition diagnosed by a specialist and figure the best possible treatment plan.
Main causes of male infertility
Before you start looking for male infertility treatments, it is imperative that you look into the cause of your problem.
Your sperm problems may be caused due to:
- Medical causes
- Ejaculation problems
- Hormonal imbalance
- Celiac disease
- Surgeries like vasectomy, hernia repair, prostate surgery, cancer, etc
- Erectile dysfunction
- Peyronie’s disease
- Undescended testicles
- Sperm antibodies
- Health and lifestyle causes
- Alcohol abuse
- Excessive tobacco use
- Drug abuse
- Chronic stress and anxiety
- Environmental causes
- Radiation exposure
- Pesticides, herbicides, and other industrial chemicals
- Heating of testicles
- Heavy metal exposure
Diagnosis of male infertility
Generally a regular physical examination and details of your medical history are taken first, followed by a semen analysis.
Any problems with the sperm count, motility, or morphology are easily detected by analysis of the semen.
For other problems, the doctor may recommend any of the below tests in addition:
- Hormonal tests
- Genetic screening
- Testicular biopsy
- Sperm function tests
Once your problem has been identified, the treatment will be easier. However, even with all these diagnostic tests, the reason for infertility may not be determined. Even then, your doctor would be able to recommend some of the below treatments.
Treatments for male infertility
Non surgical treatments
- Electroejaculation therapy – Men with abnormal or absent ejaculation due to spinal cord injuries, multiple sclerosis, etc. may benefit from electroejaculation (EEJ).EEj is usually performed under general anesthesia. It has about 90 percent success in treating ejaculation problems in neurologically impaired men, according to the Center for Male Reproductive Medicine and Microsurgery, Weill Cornell Medicine.
Over 40 percent of those are also able to achieve pregnancy with the help of IUI or ICSI, later.
- Shockwave therapy – Shockwave therapy is a highly promising technology for men with erectile dysfunction and related problems. Doctors offering shockwave therapy for ED in Thailand have suggested that it brings about 70-80 percent improvement in most men with ED.
- Hormone replacement treatment – Hormonal pills or replacement therapy is more commonly advised in cases of female infertility, but sometimes if sperm problems are attributed to hormonal imbalance, you might need hormonal balancing therapy.
- Fertility pills – You must have often come across women using Clomid to aid in pregnancy, but some men with minor sperm abnormalities have noted semen improvement with clomiphene citrate (tablets). Research has depicted that an increase sperm count and motility can be brought about with the help of such medication.
- Lifestyle improvement – Abusing alcohol, drugs, smoking, eating unhealthy food, wearing excessively tight underwear, working long hours with the laptop on your lap, can all lead to sperm problems.
It is also advisable to avoid lubricants during sex, have a diet rich in zinc and selenium, and pop multi vitamins for healthier sperm.
- Surgical sperm retrieval – Minimally invasive surgical techniques such as MESA, PESA, TESE, allow the doctors to retrieve sperm in men who had a vasectomy, or don’t have the vas deferens. This is also the solution for any blockages in the seminal tract, which lead to obstructive azoospermia.
- Varicocele ligation – Varicocele is the abnormal enlargement of veins in your scrotum. Grade II or grade III varicocele, when tied off, is known to significantly improve the sperm quality and count in men, thus upping their fertility status.
- Transurethral Resection of Ejaculatory Duct – to remove obstruction in the ejaculatory duct
- Transurethral Resection of the Seminal Vesicles (TURSV) – to remove obstruction in the seminal tract
Artificial reproductive technology
ICSI and IVF – Intracytoplasmic sperm injection (ICSI) is the technique that allows an embryologist to choose and inject just one good sperm directly into the female egg, resulting in fertilization during IVF procedure.
This bypasses the problems of poor sperm motility or count, as eventually only one sperm is required to fertilize the egg. By selecting the best one and allowing it to penetrate and fertilize the egg, the doctor may help you and your partner to achieve pregnancy.
Advanced technologies like microsorting of sperm and PIEZO ICSI that are exclusively available with some IVF centers in Malaysia, can further assist in helping you get pregnant despite male infertility.