Treatment of Male Infertility

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The problem of infertility is always managed with the man and the woman together as a couple

The problem of infertility is always managed with the man and the woman together as a couple. The management and treatment of infertility depends on the cause of infertility, as well as the couple’s preferences with regards to treatment options.
If an underlying problem is found, it will be corrected if possible. A variety of treatment options are available, but every case is managed differently and in the best interests of the couple involved. There should be a good relationship with open communication between the health provider and the couple.
In up to 50% of infertile men, no specific cause can be found. Even though a cause is not found and corrected, general treatments and lifestyle changes for infertility can still yield positive results.

The treatment options for infertility are discussed in the following headings: assisted reproductive techniques, hormonal therapy, specific therapy, lifestyle changes and alternative options.

 

Assisted Reproductive Techniques

These methods bring the sperm cells in contact with the egg cell (ovum) without the need for sexual intercourse.

  • Artificial insemination
  • This is also known as intra-uterine insemination and is the easiest and most straight forward method used. Sperm, which have been treated in the lab to make them able to move better, are injected into the female patient’s uterus while she is ovulating. This method can be used when the male is unable, due to various reasons, to deposit sperm into the female cervix.

  • In vitro fertilization
  • IVF, as this technique is commonly called, is where an egg from the female patient is removed and then combined with sperm cells in the laboratory. The zygote is then implanted into the uterus. This technique is usually used when both male and female patients have abnormalities with fertility.

  • Intra-cytoplasmic sperm injection
  • Intra-cytoplasmic sperm injection makes it possible for men that have a severe sperm production problem to conceive. With this technique, individual sperm cells are harvested from the testis. They are then injected into a single egg cell. Depending on every male patient’s individual problem, sperm could be harvested via simple aspiration or require more intensive surgery.

 

Hormonal Therapy

This is most effective when the patient has a diagnosed hormonal abnormality. There are many drugs and hormones available for use. An example is clomiphene citrate which is used to increase gonadotropin releasing hormone production. The drug, Pergonal, can stimulate sperm production in certain circumstances. Testosterone replacement therapy is used when testosterone levels are low or in the low normal range.

 

Specific Therapy

Surgical correction of a specific cause can be done when a specific cause is found. An example would be surgery for varicocele correction or correcting a specific abnormality which is present. This also includes treating and controlling any illnesses which the patient may have.

 

Lifestyle changes

lifestyle-changes

Lifestyle changes

A healthy lifestyle is encouraged no matter what the cause of infertility or what other treatments are being tried. An active lifestyle with a healthy diet can improve the chances of conceiving by restoring sexual function and libido as well as improving general well-being. A multivitamin containing adequate amounts of Vitamin C and zinc is a good idea. Taking an antioxidant, like Vitamin E, has been shown to also play a positive role in increasing fertility. Reducing stress has been shown to also be very effective in the treatment of infertility. This may mean changing jobs, taking some time off, moving to a quieter town or just managing stress better. This is not always easy as infertility itself causes the patient to have more stress and could increase financial responsibilities.

 

Alternative options

When treatments don’t work, and sometimes they don’t, infertile couples are encouraged to explore other options. They may consider using donor sperm cells for artificial insemination if the male has inadequate sperm. Adoption should also be considered. Adoption can be very fulfilling for many couples and gives the adopted child a chance for a better life.

 
There has been a great deal of medical advancement in the last two decades with regards to the treatment of infertility. The prognosis has improved dramatically and with medical technology many couples considered to have been infertile have been able to conceive a child of their own.