Andrology is the medical speciality that focuses on male reproductive health and disorders, particularly male infertility and sexual dysfunction. Male infertility is a common reproductive problem affecting men. When couples are not able to conceive after having unprotected sex across at least one year, it is important for both partners to be checked by their physician. One out of three infertility cases are linked to issues with the male partner.
Male infertility is a common reproductive problem affecting men. When couples are not able to conceive after having unprotected sex across at least one year, it is important for both partners to be checked by their physician. One out of three infertility cases are linked to issues with the male partner.
Some of the common causes of male infertility may include:
You may not show any symptoms of infertility until you try for a baby. When symptoms do show, they may include:
You may be at a risk of male infertility if you have the following factors:
To diagnose male infertility, your doctor will first conduct a general physical examination and medical history to understand your sexual habits, sexual development during puberty, chronic health problems, medications and surgeries that could lead to infertility. Additional male fertility tests that may be ordered include:
There are 2 types of male infertility:
Male infertility treatment depends upon the cause of infertility. Sometimes, a combination of treatment options will be suggested to overcome the underlying problem. These include:
Some of the alternative treatments for male infertility may include:
Some of the common surgeries performed to treat male factor infertility are:
Varicocelectomy is surgery to treat a varicocele, which is the most common cause of infertility in men. The enlarged veins in the scrotum are ligated, sparing the neighbouring arteries and lymph vessels.
This involves the reversal of a vasectomy surgery, where the vas deferens are cut, clamped or sealed. During vasovasostomy your surgeon reconstructs the severed vas deferens with stiches, allowing the easy passage of sperm.
Transurethral Resection of Ejaculatory Ducts
This procedure involves opening the ejaculatory ducts and allowing the normal flow of ejaculate.
An electroejaculator or electric probe is introduced into the rectum and placed against the prostate gland. High-frequency energy is used to stimulate ejaculation. The ejaculate is collected and used for IVF procedures.
Sperm retrieval techniques
Sperm can be retrieved from the testis or epididymis, by either inserting a needle through the skin or by making a small incision and aspirating it.
ART is another option for male infertility treatment. This includes revolutionary treatment procedures that help couples with infertility problems to conceive. Some of them include:
intrauterine insemination (IUI), where sperm is placed into the female partners reproductive tract
intracytoplasmic sperm injection (ICSI), where a healthy sperm is directly injected into the egg
In vitro fertilisation (IVF), where fertilisation takes place outside the body in a lab.
Intrauterine insemination (IUI) is a procedure by which washed ejaculated sperm are placed in the uterus at the time of your partners ovulation. IUI is indicated in the following cases:
Intracytoplasmic sperm injection is a technique where a mature sperm is injected directly into an egg that is isolated from your partner. ICSI is indicated in the below cases to treat :
A mature sperm and egg are recovered from you and your partner through the same procedure followed for IVF. The sperm tail is crushed to prevent motility. It is picked up by a micropipette and injected directly into the egg. This is then allowed to fertilise and the fertilised embryo is inserted into your partners womb for implantation.
All ART procedures require the recovery of sperm. If sperm are retrieved through surgery, you will be able leave the hospital in a short while. You may experience pain or mild discomfort for a few days, for which you will be prescribed pain medication. You are advised to wear a scrotal support (jock strap) for about 48 hours to protect your scrotum and testes and reduce discomfort. Stitches are usually dissolvable and do not require removing. You will be able to resume your normal activities in about 4 to 5 days after surgery.
Male infertility cannot be prevented, but there are certain strategies that can help maintain the quality and quantity of sperm:
Extensive research is being done to find better treatment options for male infertility. Some of the recent studies are listed below: