Male Infertility Treatments
What you need to know about treatments for male infertility
Male infertility tests: Going under the microscope continued...
Sperm and semen analysis. They provide a private room (and
magazines). You provide a fresh sample of semen. Experts then assess your sperm
count, their shape, movement, and other variables.
“Generally, a higher number of normal-shaped sperm means higher fertility,”
says Shaban. But exceptions are common. Many men with low sperm counts or
abnormal semen are still fertile. And about 15% of infertile men have normal
semen and plenty of normal sperm.
Surprisingly, the complete absence of sperm in the semen (a condition known as
azoospermia), can be a good thing. Ross says it might suggest a blockage in the
“plumbing” that can be corrected with surgery.
Physical examination. A thorough physical exam can detect varicocele
and give clues to hormone problems. This should ideally be performed by a
Hormone evaluation. Testosterone and multiple hormones made in the
brain control sperm production. However, hormones are not the main problem in
97% of infertile men.
Testicular biopsy. This is done for men with very low or no sperm in
their semen. A needle biopsy of the testicle can show whether a man is making
healthy sperm. If abundant good sperm are found in the testicle, there's likely
a blockage somewhere.
Genetic testing. Genetic tests can identify specific obstacles to
fertility and problems with sperm. Experts differ as to when genetic tests
should be done.
Male infertility: New treatments, more pregnancies
The ultimate goal of male infertility treatment is to create a pregnancy.
Ideally, the cause of the infertility is reversible and then conception can
result from natural sex. Here are some common male infertility treatments.
- Varicoceles are repaired with surgery to block off the abnormal veins. This
seems to result in a significant improvement in fertility, although some
- Hormonal abnormalities can sometimes be treated with medicine or
- Obstructions in the sperm transport plumbing can sometimes be surgically
In the past, if the above methods didn’t work, it often meant lifelong male
infertility. Today, assisted reproductive techniques (ARTs) offer powerful new
These high-tech and expensive male infertility treatments give sperm an
artificial boost to get into an egg. ARTs have made conception possible even
for men with very low or abnormal sperm.