Medical and Other Treatments
Some conditions contributing to male infertility can be treated with medication, also known as medical therapy. For example, retrograde ejaculation may often be treated with alpha-receptor agonists and immunologic infertility may be treated with anti-inflammatory or steroid medications. In addition, pituitary hormone deficiency may be corrected with drugs such as clomiphene or gonadotropins.
Other Treatment Options for Male Infertility
If these techniques fail, fertility specialists have a variety of other high-tech assisted reproductive technologies (ART) that support conception without intercourse. Depending on your problem your physician may look to:
Intrauterine insemination (IUI): By placing sperm directly into the uterus via a catheter, IUI bypasses cervical mucus that may be hostile to the sperm and puts them close to the fallopian tubes where fertilization occurs. IUI is often successful in overcoming sperm count and movement problems, retrograde ejaculation, immunologic infertility and other causes of infertility.
In vitro fertilization (IVF): In vitro fertilization refers to fertilization taking place outside the body in a laboratory Petri dish. There, the egg of a female partner or donor is joined with sperm. With IVF, the ovaries must be overly stimulated, usually with fertility drugs that allow retrieval of multiple mature eggs. After 48 to 72 hours of incubation, the fertilized egg (embryo) is inserted in the uterus and normal pregnancy can result. IVF is employed in male infertility for men with oligospermia (low sperm count) or when pregnancy does not occur following attempts with IUI.
Intracytoplasmic sperm injection (ICSI): A variation of in vitro fertilization, this procedure has revolutionized treatment of severe male infertility, permitting couples previously thought infertile to conceive. It involves injecting a single sperm directly into the egg with a microscopic needle and then, once it is fertilized, transferring it to the female partner's uterus. Your doctor is likely to use ICSI if you have very poor semen quality or lack of sperm in the semen caused by an obstruction or testicular failure. In some cases, sperm may be surgically retrieved from the testicles or epididymis for this procedure.