Starting or growing a family can be an exciting time. However, up to 15 percent of couples are infertile. In up to half of these couples, male infertility plays a role. Austin Regional Clinic is here to help; we will work with you and your partner to find and treat the cause of infertility.
Male infertility is due to low sperm production, abnormal sperm function or blockages that prevent the delivery of sperm. Illnesses, injuries, chronic health problems, lifestyle choices and other factors can play a role in causing male infertility.
You may have male infertility if your female partner has not become pregnant after you have tried for 1 year (meaning 1 year of regular sex without any birth control).
Fortunately, there are a number of tests available to determine if infertility is an issue.
- Sperm count (semen analysis). At least 2 semen samples are taken on separate days. Your provider will check the semen and sperm for many things. These include how much semen you make, how uniform it is, and how acidic it is. He or she will also look at how many sperm you make, how well they move, and what shape they are.
- Blood tests. Your provider may use blood tests to check hormone levels and rule out other problems.
- Other tests. Your provider does these tests to find the cause of sperm defects or health problems of the male reproductive system. For instance, imaging tests like an ultrasound may be used to look at your testicles, blood vessels, and structures inside the scrotum.
- Testicular biopsy. If semen analysis shows that you have only a few sperm or no sperm, your provider may remove a small piece of tissue (biopsy) from each testicle. The sample will be checked under a microscope.
Male infertility can be treated in a number of ways, depending on the cause of infertility. Treatment options include:
- Fertility help - This treatment involves helping your partner get pregnant. This may be through artificial insemination,In vitro fertilization (IVF) and gamete intra-fallopian transfer (GIFT) work like artificial insemination. Your provider collects your sperm. Then he or she mixes your partner’s eggs with a lot of high-quality sperm. He or she may mix the eggs and sperm in the lab or in your partner’s fallopian tube.
- Medicine - Hormone treatment may help you if you have a hormone disorder causing your infertility. Hormone imbalances can affect how sperm develop. They may be caused by a problem in how the hypothalamus, pituitary gland, and testes interact. Treatment may include gonadotropin therapy or antibiotics.
- Surgery - Your provider may use surgery to fix problems that keep sperm from being made, matured, or ejaculated. Surgery to remove twisted, swollen veins in the scrotum (varicocele) can sometimes improve the quality of sperm.
Don’t wait until it’s too late. Make an appointment today to meet with our fertility specialist.