What is infertility –?
Infertility is a condition of the reproductive system where it does not allow the couple to conceive through any methods normally. If the issue remains for more than a year the couple is advised treatments for infertility.
How common is male infertility-
According to studies one in four infertile couples face issues because of deficiency in males. One in 100 men has no sperm ejaculation.
What are the symptoms of male infertility-?
Infertility is a heart breaking situation for either of the sexes be it men or women. The symptoms of infertility in males can be indicated physically by the following signs-
- Pain and swelling in the testicles
- Depleted sexual desires
- Decreased ejaculation and health of the sperm
- Erectile dysfunction
- Firm testicles
What causes male infertility –?
Males can be declared infertile only by two reasons; either less sperm production or unhealthy sperm production. The exact cause of infertility is derived by certain medical tests. Some more common causes of male infertility can be-
- Exposure to radiation and chemicals at workplace
- Some kind of injury in the groin
- Previous history of any surgery, vasectomy or hernia repair
- Infections in the past; STD’s
- Hormonal disorders
- Genetic conditions
- Testicular cancer
Certain other causes that play an important role in being the root cause of male infertility are the irregular lifestyle choices of the crowd today which includes smoking, drinking, tobacco and other drugs.
How is male infertility treated?
Male infertility can be treated with or without any surgery. There are times when the infertility can also be treated with drugs only. Depending upon the type of infertility there can be three methods to treat infertility:
- Surgical methods
- Non-surgical methods
- Treatments for unknown causes of male infertility
Surgical methods- When the infertility treatments require any form of surgery. Like:
Varicocele treatments: This is a condition in which the veins present in the loose bag of skin that holds the scrotum, get enlarged. This can be treated by a surgery called Varicocelectomy.
Vasoepididymostomy: This technique involves the connection of a severed vas deferens to the epididymis. This can basically be termed as vasectomy reversal.
Microsurgical Vasovasostomy: Undoing a vasectomy is called Vasovasostomy. The microsurgery involved in joining the two cut parts in the vas deferens in each of the testicle is called Microsurgical Vasovasostomy.
Azoospermia treatments: Azooseprmia is a condition in which there is no semen. Through various surgeries this can be cured.
Transurethral resection of the Ejaculatory Duct (TURED): In this case the ejaculatory duct blockage is treated surgically for the organ to ejaculate sperm. This type of blockage does not let the sperm to come out and reach the female organ for further fertilization.
Non surgical treatments- When there is no surgery required for treating the infertility. Like:
Hypogonadotropic Hypogonadism : In this condition there is a problem in the hypothalamus or the pituitary glands. When the stimulation from the pituitary gland is poor, the testicles don not make enough sperms, this is what is called hypogonadotropic hypogonadism.
Genital tract infection: To check such infections a semen test is done. While this cannot be a good reason for a male to be infertile it is better to get it checked.
Anejaculation: This condition occurs when there is no semen. It is an uncommon condition usually caused by multiple sclerosis, spinal cord injury, diabetes, birth abnormalities etc. This can be treated by the use of drugs or assisted reproductive techniques (ART) play a major role in this condition for men.
Hyperprolactinemia: This condition arises when the pituitary gland release too much prolactin hormone. Drugs are given to bring the hormonal release to a normal amount.
Retrograde Ejaculation: This condition is when the semen instead of going out of the penis, flows back inside. Retrograde ejaculation is found by checking your urine for sperm. Usually drugs work the best in this condition.
Treatments for Unknown Causes of Male Infertility- There are cases where the cause of infertility cannot be judged. In these cases various other treatments are performed to rule out the cause.
Assisted Reproductive Techniques: If the infertility treatments aren’t available there are methods called as assisted reproductive techniques (ART). Based on the type of infertility they can of the following types:
Intra Uterine Insemination (IUI) –
This type of assisted reproductive technique is when the sperm is directly placed into the uterus with the help of a tube. This technique is beneficial in cases where there is no sperm, low sperm count, sperm movement problems etc.
In Vitro fertilization (IVF) –
IVF is a process in which the sperm and the egg are fused with each other either in the lab under suitable conditions in a petri dish. In IVF the ovaries are stimulated to retrieve more and more eggs. After the sperm and egg are fused they become an embryo and this embryo is placed back into the uterus. IVF is a successful process and very useful to females who have blocked fallopian tubes and males who have low sperm count (oligospermia).
Intra cystoplasmic sperm injection (ICSI) –
ICSI or Intracystoplasmic sperm injection is a process when the sperm is directly injected into the female’s egg for fertilization with IVF. Once the egg gets fertilized the embryo is planted back to the uterus. ICSI is suggested when the sperm quality is poor or also when is there is no/low sperm.
Sperm retrieval for ART-
No or low sperm is a major reason of infertility in men these days. However, there are ways to retrieve sperm like-
Testicular sperm extraction (TESE): In this technique the sperm is extracted from the tissues of the testicle. This process is suggested to men who cannot produce enough sperm by ejaculation.
Testicular fine needle aspiration (TESA): This was the first technique discovered to diagnose Azoospermia. A needle is slowly punctured through the scrotum to retrieve the sperms.
Percutaneous Epididymal sperm aspiration (PESA): This is another low cost method to derive the sperms just like TFNA. This is also done under local anaesthesia.
Microsurgical epididymal sperm aspiration (MESA): In this method the sperm sample is retrieved from the epididymal tubes. A surgical microscope is used in this method. This yields high amounts of sperm as compared to other methods.
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