Male infertility: Issues and treatment
A couple that is trying desperately for conception, but not able to hit the bull's-eye in spite of consistent efforts ultimately gets frustrated and disappointed. In maximum cases, the doubt goes towards the female partner because of the strong and direct association of baby and mother. Surprisingly, almost half of the infertility cases are contributed by the male partners. An expert like Dr. Rita Bakshi states it as a 'hidden problem'. There is good number of cases where couple is not able to enjoy parenthood because the male partner is unable to fertilize eggs of a perfectly healthy female. Infertility clinics like International Fertility Centre, New Delhi handles big number of cases every year with a variety of male infertilitycases. Opposite to female infertility, identification of the exact cause of male infertility is much complex. Expertise and experience of the team of doctors play a major role in treating it effectively.
The cases reported to clinics with infertility are diagnosed thoroughly using diagnostic tests. In case it is clearly visible that the problem is associated with male infertility, doctors concentrate on identifying of the exact variant.
- Less production of sperms: There are cases where male has very less production of sperms and therefore chances of pregnancy are diminished. In a healthy scenario, there are around 20 to 40 million sperms per ml, of semen. Anything less than that is considered as less production. There are no exact known causes of the same; however hormonal treatment helps a lot to increase it.
- Sperm transportation abnormality: Doctors at IFC encounter many such cases where the sperm count is adequate and lies in the normal range, but still the couple is unable to conceive. Detailed investigation reveals that the problem is there with sperm transportation. Usually it is due to blockage in the passage that carries the sperms from the testis to the penis. Surgical methods are used to remove the blockage and the passage is made clear.
- Sperm destruction: Although the number is very less, but still there are cases found where male body produces special antibodies that destroy the sperms considering it as foreign body. These types of cases are extremely difficult to identify. These antibodies restrict the sperm movement, affect the ability to get attached with female egg or sometimes even destroy the sperm at all. Special medication is provided to stop production of antibodies.
- Physiological problems: There are sometimes problems with erection or other physical deformities in the male reproduction system. Corrective surgeries like cosmetic surgery are required to resolve the problem. This cause is usually easier to identify and cure.
- Hormonal imbalance: There are cases where hormonal problems cause sperm mobility issues. The sperm count appears to be adequate, but they do not have enough speed and penetration to reach up to female egg and fertilize. Patients need to seek medical advice and medication may help increasing the mobility.
Male infertility has very limited options of treatment. Doctors try to correct the problem with medication or surgery according to the case. There are cases where IVF is the only option left. Sperms are taken from the male partners and female egg is fertilized in the laboratory. The embryo is implanted in the uterus of female to achieve pregnancy.