In approximately 40 percent of infertile couples, the male partner is either the sole or a contributing cause of infertility. Therefore, a semen analysis is very important. The man is usually asked to abstain from ejaculating for 3 to 5 days. He will then collect a semen sample in a sterile container by masturbating in the close proximity of laboratory or at home. In some instances, a semen sample may be obtained during sexual intercourse using a special condom that does not contain substances which kill the spermatozoa. The semen specimen is examined under a microscope to determine the concentration, motility (movement), and morphology (appearance and shape) of thespermatozoa. In general, two or three semen analyses are recommended over a two to six-month period, since spermatozoa quality can vary over time. These and other tests help characterize sperm functions that are necessary for successful fertilization.
Frequently, a man will need to consult a urologist or another physician who specializes in male infertility. Treatment for male factor infertility may include antibiotic therapy for infection, surgical correction of varicocele (varicose veins in the scrotum) or obstruction of ducts, hormones to improve sperm production, and insemination of semen into the woman’s uterine cavity (intrauterine insemination).
In vitro fertilization (IVF) and other assisted reproductive technologies can also provide treatments for male factor infertility. Intracytoplasmic Sperm Injection is another option for treating severe male factor infertility.
Severe male factors may be unresponsive to treatment. If this occurs, your physician may discuss using sperm from an anonymous donor as another option in having a child.