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Treatments for Male Infertility

The Center for Human Reproduction’s Dr. Vitaly A Kushnir explains that male infertility treatment at CHR can include antibiotics to solve an infection or IVF and intracytoplasmic sperm injection (ICSI) if there are sperm issues.

The treatment for male infertility really depends on the cause, but common treatments include certain hormonal treatments of underlying issues of hormonal imbalance, and we can often correct this. Other treatments include antibiotics if an infection, like prostititis, for example, is found. If it’s a sexual dysfunction problem, then there are medications that can help with erection and ejaculation potentially. In some cases, if it’s a structural problem, like the varicocele that I mentioned earlier, then surgery can often be helpful. In certain genetic conditions where the vas deferens is absent, then surgery along with in vitro fertilization is the best option. And then we get to common fertility treatments like intrauterine insemination, where we take the sperm from the guy, watch it in the laboratory, and if the sperm count is high enough we can actually put that sperm into his spouse’s womb at the time that she’s ovulating. This can help improve the chances of getting pregnant, in cases where there are some sperm issues. If the sperm counts are very low, then usually IVF becomes the best option and in this case usually the woman does most of the work. If there’s a complete absence of the sperm, then IVF including what’s called a testicular biopsy, where the sperm is actually extracted directly from the testicle, can be performed and then the sperm can be used to fertilize the eggs, and the embryos are then transferred to the woman’s womb to help her achieve pregnancy. In cases of male infertility, usually ICSI is used. ICSI is an abbreviation for intracytoplasmic sperm injection, this is where an individual sperm is injected directly into the egg, and this is done in the embryology laboratory using very specialized equipment. ICSI has really been a major breakthrough in treatment of male factor infertility because for men with very low counts, for example, or very abnormal looking sperm, we can select the best looking sperm to use, and use that for fertilization.