Treating fertility issues in men
One-third of all fertility cases are male related. One-third are female related. The rest of the cases we see are 50/50. Because we are reproductive endocrinologists and reproductive biologists, we have extensive training in the reproductive systems of both men and women and how those systems are affected by the endocrine system. Men and women share the same hormones, and many of the causes of infertility can be traced to these hormones. Others may be caused by anatomical challenges, scarring, prior infections, immunities to our own bodies, lifestyle and environmental choices, medical treatments and illnesses, and genetic disorders. For men, these causes may manifest in sperm disorders or anatomical challenges.
Your treatment will be based on the diagnosis derived from your testing. Treatment options may include one or more of the following:
- Hormones, pharmaceuticals, and other treatments to improve sperm production are case dependent and are discussed in further detail in the section on male infertility, medications, and hormones for men.
- Corticosteroids may be used to treat men whose own antibodies may attack their sperm. Antibodies are formed in response to antigen proteins found in sperm. The antibodies then see the sperm as foreign invaders and attack the sperm, interfering with fertility. On occasions where a male patient has high anti-sperm antibody production we will give alternate-day prednisone to see if we can lower the level and concentration of anti-sperm antibodies in the patient.
- Antibiotics may be prescribed if white blood cells found in the semen analysis performed on male patients suggest an infection of the male reproductive tract. In cases where white blood cells are found in semen, a course of antibiotics is given to treat the infection and thereby improve the fertility of the individual so affected.
- Medications for erectile dysfunction (ED) are offered in individual cases to address ED.
- Vasectomy reversal to reconnect the ends of the vans deferens and restore the conduction of sperm to become part of the ejaculate.
- Ligation of a varicocele or enlarged vein located primarily on the left side of the scrotum.
- Corrective surgery may be performed on the ejaculatory tract to remove an obstruction and restore the sperm flow into the semen.
- In cases of decreased sperm count, sperm quality, or sperm motility or when the cause of infertility is unknown, sperm may be prepared, concentrated, and transferred into the uterus using this procedure.
- The egg and the sperm are joined by natural fertilization in a specialized incubator in our embryology lab.
- One sperm is injected into each mature egg by our embryologist using micromanipulation. Depending on the case, either all or half of the normal eggs will be inseminated.
- When sperm are being formed in the testicle but do not appear in the ejaculate, they may be aspirated from the testicles, or in the case of retrograde ejaculation, through bladder washing following ejaculation, and prepared for use for potential attempts at egg fertilization in the lab through ICSI.
No one talks much about male infertility, but at the end of the day, the men we treat want to have a family every bit as much as their partners. And the good news is, most male infertility is treatable and we can help you on your way to becoming the supportive dad you’ve always wanted to be.