Men experience various issues with infertility, ranging from low sperm count to physical issues with the reproductive anatomy. In about one third of all infertility cases, the root cause is some issue with the male partner. When you come to Reproductive Medicine Associates of Southern California, our initial assessment will explore the possibilities as to what may be causing your infertility. If we determine that male infertility is preventing you and your partner from conceiving a child, there are several treatment options, including:
Your doctor will often conduct a semen analysis to determine the health and function of your sperm, as well as production levels. A semen analysis will indicate the number of sperm in your semen (also known as “sperm count”) as well as their morphology and mobility. Low sperm counts result from blocked ducts in the reproductive anatomy, low testosterone levels, or retrograde ejaculation, a condition in which sperm release into the bladder rather than the urethra. Medications and other medical factors may also diminish sperm count.
Even men with normal sperm counts can have problems with sperm shape and movement, factors that can easily lead to a diminished ability to fertilize eggs. Sperm with poor mobility may not be able to reach the partner’s eggs, and abnormally shaped sperm can have difficulty penetrating the egg. Low sperm count and other abnormalities are usually treatable by a doctor.
To make an appointment with the Andrology lab for a Semen Analysis please call 424.293.8841.
To conduct a semen analysis, your doctor will ask you to provide a semen sample. There are generally two methods for providing a semen sample. Typically, the sample is collected in a sterile cup by masturbation in a private room at your doctor’s office. You may also collect a sample through intercourse with your partner while wearing a special condom. It’s important to remember that when using the latter method, you must deliver the sample to your doctor within 45 to 60 minutes after collection.
If you choose to collect your sample using one of these specialized condoms, speak to your doctor about how to safely transport the sample to the office. It’s also important to remember that a small sample or inconclusive test results may necessitate submitting multiple samples.
Intrauterine insemination (IUI) is a type of artificial insemination in which sperm are injected directly into your partner’s uterine cavity near the time of ovulation. Your doctor may recommend IUI to treat many causes of infertility, especially when there is a problem with the sperm such as low sperm count or low motility (the sperm do not move well). IUI bypasses the female cervix, so it is a useful treatment if there is an incompatibility between the sperm and the cervical mucus. IUI is also an option when the man is unable to ejaculate inside the woman’s vagina (because of impotence, premature ejaculation, or other medical conditions). This procedure can be performed with your sperm or with sperm from a donor.
How intrauterine insemination is performed:
You will be asked to provide a semen sample about an hour or two before the scheduled insemination. This is done by masturbating into a sterile container at the doctor’s office. The semen is then “washed” to separate the sperm from the seminal fluid. This must be done before the sperm can be injected into your partner’s uterus, because the seminal fluid contains substances that can irritate her uterus. Sperm “washing” may also improve the ability of the sperm to fertilize the egg.
The insemination takes only a few minutes. Your doctor or nurse will place a speculum inside your partner’s vagina, insert a small catheter through the cervix into your uterine cavity, and inject the sperm through the catheter into the female’s uterus. In most cases, your partner will not feel discomfort during the procedure.
If you have any more questions about male infertility treatment options, reach out to us today.