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Many couples spend months or years trying to conceive prior to seeking answers from an infertility specialist (reproductive endocrinologist or urologist). If you have had difficulty conceiving and have had an infertility workup that diagnosed your infertility to be “male factor” it is recommended that you seek treatment for your condition in a timely fashion. There are many treatment options available for male infertility including minimally invasive procedures, surgery, and medications.
Intrauterine insemination (IUI), sometimes referred to as artificial insemination, is a common procedure for treating mild male factor infertility. The male partner produces a sperm sample, either at home or in the physician’s office, and the sperm is then “washed” or prepared for IUI. A small catheter is inserted through the woman’s cervix to inseminate the sperm, around the time of ovulation. Success rates vary for this minimally-invasive procedure are based on many factors including female age.
Assisted Reproductive Technologies
Some of most well-known forms of treatment for infertility are known as assisted reproductive technologies (ART). ART includes in vitro fertilization (IVF) and intracytoplasmic sperm injection (ICSI). IVF is a method of combining eggs with sperm in a laboratory and then transferring resulting fertilized eggs to the uterus. With ICSI, a single sperm is injected into a female egg prior to IVF to increase the odds of fertilization. Of the many treatment options available, these technologies are often met with the highest success rates, although again, there are many variables that impact success.
Surgical procedures treat various forms of male infertility. In the case of a varicocele that is causing pain or damage to the testicle, varicocele ligation may be considered. This involves tying off distended veins where a varicocele is present.
There are also medications available to treat male factor infertility, including Clomid and Serophene. Clomid, which is widely known as a medication prescribed to women suffering from infertility, as well as Serophene are sometimes prescribed to men to increase sperm count.