Assisted Reproductive Techniques for Male Fertility Problems

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Assister Reproductive Techniques (ART) have been known to be used in women who experience fertility-related problems. These techniques have also started to become a treatment option in men when the scientific world realised that fertility-related problems are not just linked to women but that men can contribute to 50% of the problem. This is a massive game changer and a breakthrough in the fertility world that allows various couples to have children, where without it, it might not have been possible.


When Is ART Considered

A couple or individual has been seen to experience fertility-related problems when they are unable to conceive after having regular and unprotected intercourse for a period of 12 months or longer. When this happens, it is recommended that both parties consult a doctor. The doctor can perform tests that can analyse each party's fertility status. Suppose the results come back that one or the other or both parties are experiencing fertility problems. In that case, ART might be considered as a treatment option to allow couples to still be able to have children hopefully.


ART Often Used in Male Infertility

Intra-Uterine Insemination (IUI)

This procedure is when collected sperm is placed directly into a woman’s uterus via a tube. This is usually the preferred method when men experience problems with low sperm count or low sperm motility. Men who experience retrograde ejaculation can also be considered for this technique.


In Vitro Fertilisation (IVF)

IVF is a process where a female’s egg is joined with sperm in a petri dish in a laboratory. This petri dish is placed in an incubator and given about 3-5 days to grow. After that period of time, the fertilised egg will be placed back in the uterus. This technique has been widely used mostly for women who have fertility problems, but it has become more popular for men who experience severely low sperm counts.


Intracytoplasmic Sperm Injection (ICSI)

ICSI is a technique that is similar to IVF. This technique requires a single sperm to be injected into a female’s egg with a tiny needle. After fertilisation, the egg will be placed back into the female’s uterus. This is usually recommended for men who have severely low sperm quality or who have no sperm in the semen due to a blockage in the reproductive tract.


Ways to Retrieve Sperm for ART Purposes

There are various methods to retrieve sperm so that it can be used in ART methods. When this is done, the goal is to get enough high-quality cells whilst working delicately to try and not harm the reproductive tract.


Testicular Sperm Extraction (TESE)

This technique is often used and extracts sperm from the testicular tissue by doing one biopsy or various smaller ones. The sperm that is extracted can be used directly for insemination or it can be frozen.


Testicular Fine Needle Aspiration (TFNA)

First, this technique was used to diagnose azoospermia, which is the absence of sperm in the semen. This technique can now be used to extract sperm from the testicle by using a needle and a syringe that will pass the skin of the scrotum and extract sperm.


Percutaneous Epidydimal Sperm Aspiration (PESA)

This technique requires a doctor to stick a needle into the epididymis and extract fluid. This fluid does not always contain sperm, but the chances are there, This procedure can be done in the doctor’s office under local anaesthesia or under general anaesthesia.


Microsurgical Epidydimal Sperm Aspiration (MESA)

This technique also requires retrieving sperm from the epididymis, but it is retrieved by using a small microscope that can reach sperm high in motility. After extraction, the sperm can be used directly for ART or it can be frozen and used at a later stage.

What is The Most Popular ART?

Statistics have shown that the most performed assisted reproductive technique is IVF. IVF has been around since 1978 and has become one of the most popular ART techniques among couples who experience difficulty in conceiving and having a child.


Can Male Infertility be Cured?

Male infertility can not be cured but there are ways to treat and manage male infertility to increase the chances of conception. Various ART techniques can be used to increase these chances, but other medications may also be used to either improve the levels of Testosterone or increase sperm production.


How To Test a Male’s Fertility Status

A male’s fertility status is usually tested by analysing a semen sample. This can be done in one of two ways. The first is by purchasing a self-testing kit that can test the sperm count and sometimes the motility of sperm. This gives men the chance to do it in the privacy of their own homes, but this test can also give a false-positive result. Thus it is recommended to confirm your fertility status with a doctor.


The doctor can also test a semen sample by sending it to a laboratory. The analysis from the lab will be more detailed and more reliable. They will test the volume of the sample, the viable sperm concentration, sperm motility, structure and the pH. All of these parameters play a role in determining a male’s fertility status.

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