Male Infertility Treatment: Azoospermia

The absence of sperm in the seminal fluid is called azoospermia, and it is a condition that results in infertility in males, which requires male infertility treatments. In many cases, men who have this condition do not have any indication that there is an issue with their fertility until they and their partner experience difficulty in getting pregnant.

Male Infertility Causes

Azoospermia is categorized into two major categories: obstructive versus non-obstructive. In obstructive cases, there is a blockage that prevents the sperm from flowing from the testicle to the urethra. The blockage may be a result of prior surgery involving the scrotum, testicle(s), or abdomen (e.g., repair of an inguinal hernia) or prior infection(s) such as gonorrhea. Alternatively, the sperm is unable to properly flow from the testicle due to the absence of the duct that carry sperm called the vas deferens. This condition, which is called congenital bilateral absence of the vas deferens, is frequently associated with the presence of a gene for cystic fibrosis (CF). A man may be a carrier for the CF gene without having any chronic lung disease, which is typically associated with CF.

Non-obstructive cases are the result of dysfunction in sperm production. The source of the problem may be in the testicles or in the regulation of hormones that is required for sperm production, which involves the brain. There are some risk factors that may be an indicate impaired sperm production, which include a history of an undescended testicle at birth, particularly when both testicles are affected, testicular cancer, and anabolic steroid use.

Male Fertility Tests

Preliminary male fertility tests typically include a sperm analysis, which examines a sample of seminal fluid for the presence of sperm as well as genetic and hormone tests. If an issue is identified, you should be referred to an urologist that specializes in male reproductive medicine for a consultation, which will likely include a physical examination and ultrasound of the testicles.

Is this condition treatable or curable?

The ability to treat or cure azoospermia depends on the cause of the condition. In obstructive cases that involve a blockage, the sperm flow will likely be resolved when the blockage is removed through surgery. Non-obstructive azoospermia, however, typically represents a greater challenge. Blood tests for certain hormones will indicate whether (or not) sperm is being produced in the testicles, and medication may be prescribed to regulate these hormones. In many situations, the only definitive way in which to determine the presence of sperm includes a testicular biopsy or microsurgical testicular sperm extraction (TESE). Aside from medication and surgical intervention, there are a number of ways to increase male fertility through a diet of fertility foods, lifestyle changes, exercise, and maya abdominal massage.

Are men with azoospermia able to father biological children?

If sperm is able to be extracted through the TESE procedure, which is a surgery performed under general anesthesia and involves the removal of testicular tissue for the extraction of sperm, it may be used to fertilize an egg to be used for in vitro fertilization. In the event that male infertility treatments are not successful, alternative options include sperm donation with artificial insemination and/ or international or domestic adoption.