Infertility is a surprisingly common barrier for couples wanting to have children: current statistics say that about one in six couples are infertile. What might surprise you, though, is that male infertility plays a big role in about half of these cases. (It’s hard to make a baby without those swimmers!)
What is the cause of male infertility? There is no single right answer, but a man’s overall health is a vital part of fertility, as is sperm production. Malformed or immotile sperm, or even physical blockages, can put a road block between you and baby. In addition, chronic health problems, genetic conditions, acute illnesses, injuries, lifestyle, and even toxic exposure can play a role in male infertility.
In vitro fertilization (IVF)
One of the most common treatments for infertility is to send the couple to an IVF (in vitro fertility) clinic. But there are actually quite a few different options to consider, particularly when we’re talking about male infertility.
Microsurgical vasectomy reversal
Of course, one of the most straightforward reasons a sperm and an egg may have trouble setting up a date is if the man has had a vasectomy. Statistics show that about 6-12% of men who have undergone a vasectomy eventually request a vasectomy reversal. Luckily, a vasectomy reversal is generally highly successful—and it’s a much easier process than you might be imagining. Microsurgery vasectomy reversals result in the return of sperm for 75-97% of patients, and Dr. Spitz is the most experienced fellowship-trained vasectomy reversal microsurgeon in Orange County. In addition, the cost of a vasectomy reversal is significantly lower than the cost of IVF. If you are located in or willing to travel to southern California, our office offers free consultations for consideration of vasectomy reversal. (Sign up for your free consult today.)
Treatments for low sperm count
If the root of the male infertility is low sperm counts, another option could be hormonal stimulation or a microsurgical procedure to restore proper blood flow to the testicles—or even find hidden sperm! Of course, nutrition and even the amount of sleep a man gets can also impact sperm count, so treatment could also include adding more berries and burpees to your daily routine. If the low sperm counts cannot be reversed, intrauterine insemination is another option to consider.
There’s an app for that… yes, really!
If you’re looking for a solution a bit more off the beaten path, there’s also a new trend in Tinder-style apps and websites that connect egg and sperm donors. Just a Baby, Order a Daddy, CoParents.com, and Known Donor Registry have all surfaced on the internet in the last year or two as ways for would-be parents to find sperm and egg donors or surrogates. It’s an interesting concept, particularly as an alternative to standard IVF, but it does bring up concerns about legality and safety when it comes to fertility services.
Meeting with a fertility expert is the key to facing down male infertility no matter the root cause, and is essential to getting you closer to building the family you want
No matter what you and your partner decide to do about fertility challenges, it’s always a good idea to consider all your options with a professional who’s familiar with medical trends and can give you a good sense of what would work best for your specific situation. For many couples, that just means a little TLC for the man’s reproductive system. Know your options and get some help so you can choose the best option for making your dream family a reality.