For couples struggling with fertility, a male factor cause is found in approximately 30% of couples, with a male factor “contribution” in up to 50%. When a couple initially presents for evaluation of infertility, it is routine for the male partner to provide a semen analysis. If this is abnormal, it is essential for the male partner to meet with a urologist specializing in male infertility, not only to ensure that the couple has all options available to them to proceed forward in the most effective and cost-efficient manner possible, but also to ensure that the abnormal semen analysis is not a sign of a more serious disease.
A full evaluation with Dr. Kaufman will include not only a review of the pertinent findings on the semen analysis, but a detailed history and physical exam which could provide insight into the causes of the problem. Patients will most likely have hormonal values tested, and possibly additional blood work or radiologic testing as deemed necessary.
There are many safe and effective treatment options for most of the causes of male infertility. These include, but are not limited to, medical therapy, surgical repair of reversible causes or sperm retrieval.
While it is established that medical therapy is helpful in select cases, it should not be considered first-line treatment in all men who present with infertility or low sperm counts. It is imperative that you discuss your individual situation with an expert in male infertility prior to initiating any hormonal manipulation.
What Happens under Normal Conditions?
At the base of the penis, sperm and testosterone (male hormone) are made in the scrotum's 2 testicles. The sperm leave the testicles through a coiled tube called the epididymis. They stay there until they're ready to be used. Each epididymis is linked to the prostate by a tube called the vas deferens. This tube runs from the scrotum into the groin, then the pelvis and behind the bladder. There, each vas deferens joins with a seminal vesicle and forms the ejaculatory duct. For ejaculation, sperm passes through the ejaculatory ducts to mix with fluid from the seminal vesicles, prostate, and other glands to form semen. The semen travels through the urethra and comes out the end of your penis.
When Is Sperm Retrieval Recommended?