If you’ve recently received an abnormal semen analysis or an infertility diagnosis, you may be worried about your future. The good news is that most cases of male factor infertility are treatable! There are many different approaches to male infertility treatment, so it helps to understand your options.
What Causes Infertility in Males?
In many cases of male factor infertility, which are identified via a semen analysis as an abnormal result, the underlying cause can be easily identified and treated. However, determining the cause(s) of your fertility issues is critical for proceeding with treatment so you can have the assurance that you’re getting the appropriate care.
Male infertility can be caused by several unique factors, including things like:
- Varicocele – An abnormal enlargement of veins in the testicles.
- Genetic diseases like Klinefelter’s syndrome, myotonic dystrophy, microdeletion, and others.
- Inadequate testicular function.
- Hormone, thyroid, or pituitary gland problems.
- Infections or inflammatory conditions.
- Environmental and lifestyle factors (e.g., heavy alcohol use, exposure to toxins, etc.).
- And more.
A semen analysis is the best way to establish a baseline for your current fertility status. This sperm test will analyze things like your sperm count, sperm motility, and other key attributes of your semen quality. It will also help determine what is causing your infertility issues.
Once you understand your baseline, you can then seek the appropriate workup to determine the cause and treatment to improve your fertility.
Your Options for Male Infertility Treatment
Generally speaking, you can categorize treatments for male factor infertility into a few groups:
- Medical Therapies
- Surgical Treatments
- Fertility Assistance
- Lifestyle Adjustments
Let’s dive into each category to further explore them.
Medical Therapies for Male Infertility
Many male fertility problems can actually be treated with medication. In fact, infertility issues can be addressed with simple treatments like:
- Antibiotics, non-steroidal anti-inflammatories – For infections or inflammation.
- Over-the-counter drugs like Sudafed, or changing a medication you currently take – For anejaculation or retrograde ejaculation.
- Hormonal therapies – For hormone imbalances like low testosterone, excessive estradiol, or inadequate FSH and LH signaling to the testicles.
Surgical Treatments for Male Infertility
Certain conditions and causes of male infertility require surgery to be fixed or overcome. For instance, if your infertility status is due to blockages in the tubes that transport sperm, surgery will be needed to remove those blockages.
Most male infertility surgeries are designed to correct or repair anatomic abnormalities or damage to reproductive organs (NIH). But sometimes surgeries are done to retrieve sperm from the source.
- Varicocelectomy – Repairs the dilated veins in the scrotum that can affect testicular temperature regulation and oxidative stress affecting sperm production.
- Vasectomy Reversal (e.g., vasovasostomy, vasoepididymostomy, etc.) – After the vas deferens are interrupted at the time of vasectomy those tubes can be reconnected to allow sperm to once again pass through to the ejaculate.
- Sperm Retrieval – If certain blockages can’t be repaired or if there is very low production of sperm there are procedures to get sperm from the testicle or epididymis.
Male Fertility Assistance
In some cases, it’s difficult to fully reverse the cause(s) of male infertility. And certain causes, like some genetic conditions, can be difficult to fully treat. That’s where Assisted Reproductive Techniques (ARTs) come into play.
If other male infertility treatments can’t completely overcome the underlying cause or aren’t available for some causes, ARTs can help you and your partner get pregnant with the help of medical assistance. Some of these techniques include:
- Intrauterine Insemination (IUI)
- In Vitro Fertilization (IVF)
- Intracytoplasmic Sperm Injection (ICSI)
Depending on your situation you may be able to use ejaculated sperm for these techniques
For some situations, you will need a reproductive urologist to retrieve your sperm (John Hopkins Medicine). These microsurgical methods include:
- Testicular Sperm Extraction (TESE)
- Testicular Sperm Aspiration (TESA)
- Percutaneous Epididymal Sperm Aspiration (PESA)
- Microsurgical Epididymal Sperm Aspiration (MESA)
- Microsurgical Testicular Sperm Extraction (MicroTESE)
Lifestyle Changes to Improve Male Fertility
Did you know that many cases of male factor infertility can be treated by simply making changes to your lifestyle? Small adjustments to your daily behaviors can add up over time and contribute to healthy sperm production. Here are a few changes you can make today:
- Stop smoking cigarettes or tobacco
- Reduce your alcohol consumption
- Maintain a healthy body weight
- Get regular exercise
- Eat a nutrient-dense diet
- Take a male fertility supplement
- Explore ways to better handle stress and anxiety
Learn Which Male Infertility Treatment is Right for You
At Posterity Health, our goal is to help you and your partner conceive a healthy baby. We accomplish this goal by offering a wide array of male fertility services and treatments. When you have our dedicated team of male fertility specialists at your back, you’ll be able to find the best methods to improve your fertility status.
Contact Posterity Health today for a free 10-minute phone consultation and learn more about your options for male fertility treatment.