Male infertility affects many more men than you would think. The American Society for Reproductive Medicine reports that male infertility occurs in about 10% of the current population. This equates to about 1 in every 20 men, who have a low or low motile sperm. Only 1 in 100 have no sperm at all. The good news is that for most male infertility, there is a solution.
What Causes Male Infertility?
Infertility for a couple is determined when, after a year or more of trying to conceive, there has not been a successful pregnancy. Testing will determine if the problem exists as either a male or female reproductive issue. In many instances, it is a combination of both. For males, the treatments can range depending on what the particular issue is. In general, the problem occurs when there is low or irregular production of sperm in the testes, or the transport systems have blockages. Luckily, the treatments include a round of fertility medications, which can increase the number and frequency of sperm. Blockages can most often be corrected, as well.
In some men, however, these fertility medications, such as Clomid, don’t seem to be making a difference. In these instances, the doctor may recommend using a method called ICSI, or IVF. In this procedure, they extract sperm and fertilize the woman’s egg in the laboratory. Then, the fertilized embryos are transplanted into the woman’s uterus.
When Should A Man Consider IVF?
Many men who have a low sperm concentration of less than 20 million per millimeter should consider IVF, or if the sperm motility (their ability to move properly) is less than 35%. Most men who wish to start a family, opt to take the fertility medications to increase sperm counts, then the extraction and IVF procedure is performed. Sometimes the doctor will freeze the sperm in case more is needed later on for future attempts. Fertilization success rates are very high using this method (note that fertilization rates are not the same as birth rates, or successful pregnancy rates). Most numbers have them at about 80% effective when completed in this manner. A whole host of factors will come into play after the egg has been fertilized, and the woman will have to undergo a wide range of additional pharmaceutical support from various IVF medications so that the embryo will stay implanted, will have sufficient environment to grow, and so forth.
Male Infertility Testing is Quite Easy
Many men are hesitant to be tested, for one reason or another. However, the actual test, itself, is quite simple. All that is needed is a semen sample, which can be collected in the privacy of your own home. Results, for most clinics, is available within a week. The sample is tested for volume, concentration, motility, and morphology (the shape of the sperm). Based on these factors, the clinic can determine the best course of action and treatment, and which, if any, fertility medications will be needed.