Male Fertility: Overview and treatment

When people can’t have children, the cause must be investigated, it could be male or female reasons, or both together.There are several reasons for men not being able to have children, some of them are reversible.

Before offering a treatment or any of the assisted reproduction options, the most common causes of infertility must be ruled out and corrected.

Causes and risk factors of male infertility:

Many anatomical or functional alterations of the male reproductive system can cause infertility in men; the most common are:

  1. Varicocele
  2. Epididymitis
  3. Prostatitis
  4. Cryptorchidism
  5. Retrograde ejaculation
  6. Hormonal disturbances
  7. Radiation to the testicles
  8. Testicular cancer
  9. Generic alterations
  10. Orchitis
  11. Vasectomy history

Symptoms of male infertility:

Most of the times, patients who are unable to have children have no discomfort and are aware of infertility until they wish to have children. Some of the symptoms that may appear in infertility patients are caused by the testicular disease that is responsible for infertility.

Some findings in infertile men are:

  • Testicular pain
  • Varicose veins in the scrotum
  • Absence of one or both testicles
  • Burning sensation when urinating
  • Burning sensation when ejaculating
  • Testicular swelling

Diagnosis of male infertility:

To make or confirm the diagnosis of infertility it is important to do the following:

  • Medical history
  • Complete physical examination
  • Examination of the genitals
  • Testicular ultrasound
  • Prostate ultrasound
  • Determination of hormone levels in the blood
  • Sperm count
  • Semen culture
  • MRI of the head
  • Karyotype
  • Testicular biopsy (only in experienced centers and when an assisted reproductive technique is planned)

Treatment of male infertility:

The goal of the treatment is to solve the baseline reason of the infertility, some options are:

  1. Varicocele repair (varicocelectomy)
  2. Medical treatment
  3. Antibiotics
  4. Anti-inflammatories
  5. Hormonal drugs
  6. Vasectomy reversal
  7. Artificial insemination (only in centers with experience)
  8. In vitro fertilization (only in centers with experience)

Learn more about male fertility here.