Male Fertility Treatments
Male factor infertility can have many causes. Fortunately,
there are treatments available and many couples with male infertility are able
to conceive after treatment.
Insurance coverage for infertility treatment varies
greatly. The cost to you depends on how much is covered by your insurance plan.
When it comes to assisted reproductive technologies (ART), a successful
pregnancy may need repeated attempts. This can lead to significant
Talk to your partner and your doctor about how much you
want to spend on getting pregnant. This can affect your choice of treatment.
Therapy for Sexual Problems
Sometimes problems with conception start with sexual
problems. If men have trouble with intercourse, there are few or no
opportunities for their partners to get pregnant. Behavioral therapy can be
combined with medication to treat:
- erectile dysfunction
- premature ejaculation
- other sexual problems
Surgery for Male Infertility
Surgery can be used to repair blocked sperm ducts. It
may also be able to correct other physical problems in the reproductive tract,
such as a varicocele.
Surgery may also be used to retrieve sperm for ART.
Assisted Reproductive Technology
ART can be used to help couples with more severe, or
longer lasting, infertility. Where male infertility is a factor, this may
involve surgical retrieval of sperm. Retrieved sperm can then be used to
fertilize eggs more directly than occurs during intercourse. Options for ART
- in vitro
fertilization (IVF)–sperm and egg are mixed
together outside the body. Fertilized embryos are then implanted in the uterus.
sperm injection (ICSI)–a type of IVF where
sperm are injected directly into eggs. ICSI is often used for men who have very
low sperm counts or damaged sperm.
intrafallopian transfer (GIFT)–a
procedure where sperm and retrieved eggs are mixed together and put into the
fallopian tubes. GIFT is not commonly used.
ART can also be performed with ejaculated sperm or donor
Using donor sperm can be very stressful for some men. It
is a good idea to discuss your concerns with your partner. Some doctors require
counseling for any couple or individual using donated gametes.
Medications for Infertility
Medical problems that cause
infertility may be treatable with medication.
Antibiotics can be used to treat infections. Sexually
transmitted infections (STIs), and infections of the prostate and/or testes may
affect sperm count. Untreated infections may also lead to blockages.
Hormone imbalances can affect sperm count. These may be
treatable with hormone therapy or other medication.
Making Better Lifestyle Choices to Improve Fertility
Environmental and lifestyle
factors can decrease fertility. Talk to your doctor about potential risk
factors, such as:
- tobacco use
- exposure to toxins
at work or home
- alcohol or drug use
Behavioral therapy may be able to help you improve your fertility
and overall health. Other simple solutions may include:
- not using a laptop directly on your
- staying out of hot tubs and saunas
- wearing loose fitting underwear
These suggestions are designed to keep your testicles
cooler. Warm testicles are associated with decreased sperm production.