Male Fertility Treatment Options
Male infertility is often due to poor sperm quality, function or a blockage that prevents the sperm from being present in ejaculation. Past injuries, lifestyle factors or health problems can lead to male infertility. The male partner often has no signs that they have poor sperm quality and isn’t aware of the problem until tested.
If you and your partner have been attempting to conceive a child for a year or more (6 months if you are over 35), with no pregnancy, it is recommended to visit a fertility specialist. About one-third of fertility causes are due to male factor infertility.
The First Step In Male Fertility Testing
The first step for the male partner is to undergo a semen analysis at one of Dallas Fort-Worth Fertility Associate’s three andrology labs. A semen analysis will require an ejaculation sample from the male. The andrologists will then test the sperm for adequate:
- Volume (anything below 15 million sperm per ML or 39 million per ejaculate is considered low)
- Shape (sperms with misshapen heads or multiple tails are likely not good candidates)
- Motility (how well the sperm move and swim)
Prior to the sample, it’s recommended to avoid ejaculation for 48 to 96 hours, alcohol and any hormonal medications. The andrologist will look for sperm that have the highest likelihood of fertilization. If you are moving forward with fertility treatment, the sperm will be properly washed and prepared for your specific treatment (likely IUI or IVF). Additional tests may be ordered, usually by a urologist who specializes in male fertility, if there is a family or medical history that may affect male fertility. These include:
- Additional Hormone Testing
- Scrotal ultrasound
- Additional genetic testing
- Testicular biopsy
Male Fertility Treatment Options
If the sperm are unable to fertilize the egg naturally, there are several options for the male partner.
- ICSI (intracytoplasmic sperm injection)
This is a procedure where the andrologist chooses the best sperm from the semen analysis. Next, the sperm is held with a fine needle and injected directly into the egg (the female partner must have already undergone the egg retrieval process). This bypasses the sperm’s need to swim to the egg. Most fertility centers have an approximate 70% ICSI fertilization rate.
If you’ve had a vasectomy or severe injuries, surgeries can be performed to reverse the vasectomy or retrieve sperm directly from the testes. A procedure called TESE (Testicular Sperm Extraction) can be performed at our office under local anesthesia. This procedure allows sperm to be removed directly from the testicles. Because sperm inside your testes hasn’t yet learned how to swim, we will use ICSI and insert them directly into the egg.
- Hormone Replacement
If it is noticed that certain hormones are low, they can be replaced by hormone medications that may repair the problem.
- Lifestyle Changes and Supplements
Because male sperm is regenerated every 60 – 70 days, what you do to your body today will affect sperm function in the future. By drastically changing your diet, exercise and health regimen today, it’s possible to get retested in the future. This result may prove to have more positive results with healthier sperm. It’s also recommended to add a daily vitamin to your protocol.
- Sperm Donor
It’s very rare that our reproductive endocrinologists can not treat male fertility. However, if this is the case we do partner with several donor sperm banks that provide viable options. Sperm donors can be matched to the characteristics of the parents and are screened for sexually transmitted diseases.
If you would like to consult with our reproductive endocrinologists about your Male Fertility treatment options, please contact us today.
About the Author:
Samuel Chantilis, M.D. is a highly trained and experienced infertility specialist in his hometown of Dallas, TX. He is board certified in reproductive endocrinology and infertility, and has been practicing in Texas since completing his training in 1993. Dr. Chantilis was a faculty member at UT Southwestern Medical School for five and a half years before entering private practice in January 1999 at Presbyterian Hospital in Dallas. Dr. Chantilis has been the leading provider of IVF services at the Presbyterian Hospital ARTS program since 1999, having conducted approximately 2,500 egg retrievals.