IVF Eliminates Male Factor Infertility

Infertility is defined as “the failure of a couple to conceive after one year of unprotected intercourse.” Roughly 15% of married couples attempting their first pregnancy experience some degrees of difficulty to conceive. The male factor plays a significant role in about 50% of infertile couples. Fortunately, in most cases, the obstacle of male factor infertility can be easily eliminated for couples who undergo In Vitro Fertilization (IVF) with the use of Intracytoplasmic Sperm Injection (ICSI).

Diagnosis: what causes male factor infertility?

  • Sperm disorders: low sperm count, abnormalities, hormonal imbalances or problems with reproductive anatomy
  • Age: Generally, a man’s fertility starts declining around the age of 35 as the quality and motility sperm diminishes.
  • Immune disorders: Issues with the immune system can cause a man’s body to treat sperm as if it were a foreign matter, producing antibodies to fight and destroy the sperm.
  • Cancer treatments: Chemotherapy and radiation may contribute to male infertility.
  • Sexually transmitted diseases (STDs): STDs may damage the parts of the body that transport sperm through the reproductive tract.
  • Testosterone, Androgel, and other male hormone substitutes: Used in lieu of antidepressants or as performance-enhancing additives, they increase testosterone levels, but may also be responsible for halting sperm production.
  • Health and lifestyle factors: Including stress, weight, drug and alcohol consumption
  • Selective sterilization: Vasectomy is currently one of the most common methods of sterilization in the United States

Questions to Consider

Once diagnosed, many of these causes are treatable and may even be reversible. However, there are several other factors to consider when addressing infertility. Depending on the answers to the following questions IVF with ICSI may be the best option for couples.

  • How quickly you want to conceive a child?
  • Your age and your partner’s age?
  • The number of children you want?
  • Cost/Financial responsibilities?
  • For vasectomy patients: how many years since the procedure?

IVF with ICSI Treatment

The laboratory technique of ICSI has revolutionized the way we can treat male infertility. First introduced in 1992, ICSI is a procedure in which an embryologist takes a single sperm and injects it directly into an egg. The fertilized egg(s), also known as embryos, then remain in the laboratory for three to five days, after which implantation occurs into the woman’s uterus.

Directly injecting the sperm inside the egg eliminates the need for sperm binding allowing the couple to conceive even when there is a low sperm count, poor motility or physical blockage. In the case of physical blockage, male patients can undergo a testicular sperm aspiration (TESE/PESA) which is a surgical procedure where viable sperm is obtained from the male reproductive tract eliminating the need for vasectomy reversal or removal of the blockage.

Success Rates

The success rate with this technique is highly dependent upon the skill of the embryologist performing the procedure. At Brown Fertility, our lead embryologist brings crucial experience and the direct oversight of more than 10,000 IVF cycles. He is highly skilled with ICSI for male factor patients and is currently one of the most experienced embryologists practicing in the world.

Advancements in fertility medicine have opened the doors to address many different infertility causes in both male and female partners. Today we are able to help thousands of families achieve their dream of becoming parents.