Male infertility is a common factor in couples who can’t become pregnant.
Depending on its cause, infertility in men may not require medical treatment. For example, environmentally-caused male infertility—such as sitting in a hot tub for too long, or excessive drinking—will typically correct itself once you’ve refrained from the activity. Other causes of male infertility, such as certain heavy metals, chemotherapy, or radiation, may be permanent.
There are generally three categories of medical treatment options for male infertility:
- Surgical: If the cause of infertility is a problem in the structure of the reproductive organs, surgery can correct the problem. For example, a varicocele or blocked vas deferens are good candidates for surgery.
- Hormonal: While most cases of male infertility do not respond to fertility drugs, there are some exceptions. Some men suffer from low hormone production, and medication might help in those cases.
- Assisted reproductive technology (ART): ART treatments may be an option when a man can’t produce or release sperm naturally. For example, when there is no sperm in the ejaculate, sperm may be extracted directly from the male reproductive tract using testicular sperm extraction (TESE) or micro epididymal sperm aspiration (MESA). Sperm are then inserted into the female genital tract using in vitro fertilization (IVF) or intracytoplasmic sperm injection (ICSI). These procedures are usually performed by urologists with expertise in male infertility.