For couples who are trying to conceive without success, the common assumption is often that it is the woman who has the issues. But the reality is about half of couples experiencing infertility will be found to have an abnormal semen analysis or significant contributing male factor infertility. So what causes male infertility? And what can couples do to overcome it and build a family? Below, Dr. Matthew Coward discusses what you need to know about male infertility.
When TTC without Success
If you’ve been trying to conceive without success for one year (or six months if you’re over 35), it may be time to see a specialist. Your visit to your fertility specialist should include an evaluation of both partners. “At a minimum, all male partners should have a semen analysis,” according to Dr. Coward. If the results of the sperm analysis are abnormal, it is important to speak with a reproductive urologist about diagnosing the cause and possible courses of treatment.
For some men with a history of childhood surgeries or serious illnesses, undergoing a semen analysis before attempting to conceive may be beneficial. This is due to the fact that they are at higher risk for infertility due to their medical history. Contact us today at 919-908-0000 to schedule your consultation and have a semen analysis done.
Diagnosing & Treating Male Infertility
There are multiple potential causes of male factor infertility. The most common is a varicocele, which is a dilation of the veins leading from the testicle. According to Dr. Coward, “Most of the time this can only be diagnosed by a physical exam with a reproductive urologist. Fortunately, varicocele surgery is one of the most cost-effective approaches to treatment of male factor infertility, often avoiding the need for more invasive fertility procedures.”
One of the most severe forms of male infertility is azoospermia, or the complete loss of sperm production. Luckily, even this can be treatable. According to Dr. Coward, an advanced procedure called the micro-TESE, performed at UNC Fertility, allows for your reproductive urologist to find sperm and retrieve it using an operating microscope.
Even men who have suffered from a spinal injury or neurological condition that have lost their ability to ejaculate are still fertile – using electroejaculation, Dr. Coward and his team at UNC Fertility can retrieve a semen sample that can be used for assisted reproduction.
Consulting With a Specialist
Every couple’s situation is unique, so it is important to consult with your fertility team if you’re having difficulty conceiving. At UNC Fertility, our reproductive urologist works in the office alongside our fertility specialists to develop a comprehensive treatment plan to improve or correct male factor infertility. Our goal is always to give a couple the best chance to conceive naturally, although in some cases the reproductive urologist works with the fertility specialist to develop a plan that may include assisted reproduction with intrauterine insemination or in vitro fertilization.
Dr. Matthew Coward specializes in male fertility, and offers a full array of diagnostic tests and treatments for those struggling with male infertility at our Raleigh, North Carolina practice. If you would like to schedule a consultation with Dr. Coward and our team of fertility specialists at UNC Fertility, contact us today at 919-908-0000.