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Male Infertility Treatments: An Overview

Updated on January 23, 2011

 Infertility is a condition found in both men and women. Roughly half of all cases of infertility are related to the male partner's condition. Men suffer from infertility for many reasons. Such reasons include low sperm count, a birth injury, previous illness such as mumps and a hormonal imbalance. If your partner has a problem with male infertility treatments are available. Many effective infertility treatments can help overcome the problem and lead to a successful pregnancy.

Male Infertility Tests

The first issue is the get the men tested for infertility. A man should have a basic physical workup. This can be done in with a general practitioner. The test will check his vitamin levels, note his cardiovascular fitness and include a close look at his reproductive organs. Most doctors send men to have blood tests to make sure his homones are in balance.

The primary test used during this time is the sperm analysis. This test checks the viability of sperm as well as the overall count. Lower counts are not a problem unless they are very low. A count of under 100,000 can indicate a problem.

Varicoceles

 After all tests have been conducted a problem may have been identified. If a man has a problem with hormones, many doctors will prescribe a course of clomid for a few months. Clomid can help remedy any existing imbalances in a man's hormones. The pill acts on the male reproductive system.

If a man has not conceived during this time frame, additional steps can be taken.

One of the most common causes of infertility in men is a twisted vein. This vein is called a varicocele. The vein can lead to a reduced blood supply and increased heat in the groin. Increased heat helps kill of sperm. Many urologists will operate on the vein. The operation to correct this form of male infertility is done as an outpatient procedure. The vein is quickly tied up. This often corrects the problem.

After surgery, results will typically take between three and six months to show up. Surgery can help restore sperm count and cure male infertility. Many men are cured of their male infertility and go on to father children after the problem has been helped.

Artificial Insemination

 If a man has a lower sperm count than normal, artificial insemination may be suggested. Artificial insemination is where the sperm is placed in a woman's uterus directly by a doctor. This helps individual sperm reach the egg. Artificial insemination is a relatively inexpensive treatment for infertility. A local OB can perform this procedure for you in her office.

A woman may take fertility medications at the same time as the insemination. The use of fertility drugs will increase her egg production. This results in more eggs being available for fertilization.

IVF

 If a man has very low sperm counts, an IVF cycle can be tried. An IVF cycle involves the production of many eggs via the use of fertility drugs. The increased number of eggs allows more eggs for the sperm to choose from. A male partner may be advised to take vitamins and hormones as his partner takes fertility drugs herself.

Men will typically wait for the woman's eggs to be harvested. After they are harvested his sperm is collected. A doctor then feritilizes the eggs with his sperm in a dish outside the body. After that the sperm are reintroduced back into the woman's body. IVF can serve as a cure for male infertility. Many couples use it as last resort because it is very expensive. A single attempt can cost thousands of dollars.

IVF ICSI

 If a man's infertility is a result of very low sperm counts or he has only a few sperm, IVF with ICSI might be tried. During this procedure a woman undergoes an IVF cycle. The man's sperm are harvested. Some men may only have a few sperm. In this case a doctor might perform surgery during the cycle to harvest the remaining sperm.

After the woman's sperm are collected, a single sperm is injected into an egg. One or more of the resulting eggs are then placed back in the woman's body where they may become a baby.

IVF ICSI is a costly procedure that is often used only as a last resort. The procedure can be difficult to perform correct. Look for IVF clinics that have good prior track records with a well document history of successful IVF pregnancies.

ICSI

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