Our society is seldom to discuss male infertility. As a result, many men are unaware of or unable to accept a serious problem. It has been discovered that at least half of all infertility cases result from the man’s inability to conceive rather than the woman. Women often blame themselves for the couple’s difficulties conceiving.
Sadly many doctors are of the same mindset and do not test the male partner before a woman. They wait for a female to undergone invasive testing and treatments. Many men are surprised that male infertility causes are relatively simple and can be quite easily rectified.
Common causes of male infertility
The most common causes of male infertility lie in the sperm itself. After submitting a sample to a lab, the seminal fluid will be tested for azoospermia and sperm lack.
Another cause may be oligospermia, which is more commonly known as a low sperm count. The lab will also examine sperm for any irregularities in movement and structure that might be causing the complications.
It may be very distressing for a man to learn that he has one of the above conditions. However, there is no need to give up on beginning a family with the correct treatment and open communication with his partner.
How can you prevent or solve male infertility?
Making lifestyle changes is one of the simplest but most effective ways a man can increase his sperm count.
Diet plays a significant role in all health issues, especially impacting fertility. That is why taking steps to eliminate fat, sugar, and refined foods can make a big difference.
Smoking can cause impotence in men as well as infertility. There is no benefit to tobacco use, and when a couple is having trouble conceiving, quitting smoking is paramount.
As strange as it seems, abstinence is another of nature’s cures for male infertility. If a man abstains from intercourse or masturbation between attempts to conceive, his sperm will have greater volume and power than if he maintains a regular ‘schedule’.
How is male infertility treated?
A man has to do more serious measures if lifestyle change does not seem to solve male infertility. Hormone replacement in women for fertility is widespread, and many of the same drugs can be used for men. These hormones will help to bolster a low sperm count. It is a combination therapy with positive life changes such as avoiding caffeine and alcohol, which has a high success rate.
There is no need for men or women to take infertility personally. Billions of couples are dealing with their challenges globally. Keep a positive attitude and seek out treatment early to avoid any unnecessary stress or procedures. Try to remember that male infertility has nothing to do with your worth as a man and everything to do with nature’s randomness.
If infertility occurs only from the male part, there are several infertility treatments depending on the type of male infertility cause.
Sperm retrieval is a method used for a man with low sperm count. There are several procedures of sperm retrieval :
1) Testicular Sperm Extraction is a treatment used on men with a blockage that prevents sperm from getting into their epididymis. A needle is inserted into the testis to remove testicular tissue and extract the sperm. The treatment is applied under a general anesthesia.
2) Percutaneous Epididymal Sperm Aspiration is a procedure used if the semen doesn’t contain sperm. A needle is inserted into the scrotum and the epididymis to remove the sperm cells. A doctor uses local anesthesia, and the treatment lasts 10-20 minutes.
3) Microepididymal Sperm Aspiration involves microsurgery to collect sperm from the blocked parts near the epididymis. The semen is extracted from the epididymal tube through a small incision in the scrotum. A surgeon uses general anesthesia, and side effects like pain and discomfort can appear after the surgery.
Sperm Preparation is a method used to increase sperm function and conception chances. Among the procedures of sperm preparation, we can count:
1) Sperm washing-increases sperm motility by removing immobile sperm and other substances that might diminish fertilization. This procedure is performed using a centrifuge, wich separates the sperm cells from the seminal fluid.
2) Cryopreservation – sperm is collected and freezed for later use in a medium that allows the sperm to survive.
3) Swim-up technique. The healthiest and most active sperm swim up and reach the uterus. A culture medium is placed on the top of a semen tube to keep only this sperm type. The healthy sperm swim into the culture medium from where it is collected and used for fertilization.
In addition to these procedures, there are also surgical solutions for the male infertility problem such as:
– Varicocelectomy is a procedure used for repairing varicoceles. The veins are cut so that the blood flow from the varicocele could be eliminated. The blood from varicocele diminishes sperm production resulting in low sperm count.
– Vasoepididymostomy is a procedure used for treating an epididymal obstruction, like scarring or cysts.
Varicocele is a dilation of the veins that drain the testicle. They’re most commonly found on the left side due to the anatomy within the abdomen.
These veins are dilated because the valves within the veins that should allow blood flow away from the testicle into the abdomen don’t work well. They get overwhelmed by the pressure from the abdomen. This pushes blood back down those veins, causing dilation and stretching in the veins. All this can make for a bad environment for sperm production.
A man might not know that varicocele at all. But when they come to the office to evaluate infertility, that’s one of the things we look for.
Most men with a varicocele don’t have any symptoms and don’t notice it, though some people do have pain. Classically, if they have pain from varicocele, it’s a constant and dull ache that seems to get worse as the day goes on. The pain gets worse with activity and seems to be relieved when they rest or lie down.
There’s not any medication that’s going to get these veins to reduce to normal size. We offer our patients microsurgical varicocele repair. Using the operating microscope is crucial because it helps identify other vital structures in the spermatic cord that you want to preserve. And it also helps you identify all the veins. Those veins are then tied off and divided, therefore interrupting that negative backward flow.
Patients always ask – If you divide all the veins, what will happen to the blood? The blood still finds its way out of the testicle through alternate channels, and they do just fine.
The recovery period is probably shorter than one would expect. We don’t go through any muscle during the surgery. Though there is certainly some discomfort postoperatively, it’s not as bad as most patients think. Patients often tell they needed the pain medication for the first two or three days, and then they didn’t even need that.
We request that they not go back to regular strenuous activity for several weeks.
Not everybody with the varicocele needs varicocele repair. Usually, we repair a varicocele if we think that it’s negatively impacting somebody’s fertility. Also, when people are experiencing the pain that is classically associated with a varicocele, it is another reason we would fix it. But a good number of men live with it and don’t need surgery whatsoever.