Male Infertility – Understanding Its Significance in IVF



In very simple words, Male infertility means a man can’t make a woman pregnant.

It’s often diagnosed when a couple has been actively trying to conceive for at least a year without success. Male infertility symptoms can result from various factors, such as low sperm count, poor sperm motility (movement), abnormal sperm shape, or blockages that prevent the delivery of sperm. As couples seek solutions to fertility challenges, the choice of the best IVF center in Indore plays a pivotal role in shaping their path towards parenthood. Understanding the essential role of male infertility in the IVF process is essential for navigating this path towards achieving the dream of parenthood.

Surprisingly, about 50% infertility couple cases come from male issues, and up to 2% of men have fertility problems.

How Male Infertility Impacts IVF Procedures

When it comes to in vitro fertilisation (IVF), various reasons for male infertility can impact the procedure in several ways.

  1. Firstly, if a man has low sperm count or poor sperm quality, it may be necessary to use techniques like intracytoplasmic sperm injection (ICSI) during IVF. With ICSI, a single sperm is injected directly into the egg to facilitate fertilisation, bypassing natural barriers that may prevent sperm from fertilizing the egg on its own.
  2. Secondly, if the male partner’s infertility is severe and there are no viable sperm in the ejaculate, sperm may need to be retrieved directly from the testes or epididymis SURGICALLY. This will involve procedures like testicular sperm extraction (TESE) or percutaneous epididymal sperm aspiration (PESA). These retrieved sperm can then be used for IVF with ICSI.

Various Reasons of Male Infertility


Only a comprehensive evaluation by a fertility specialist can help identify underlying causes and develop personalised treatment plans to optimise reproductive outcomes. These could be…

  1. Genetic Factors like inherited genetic abnormalities are among the top Causes of Male Infertility. These may involve alterations in the structure or number of chromosomes, which can affect sperm production, motility, or morphology. Genetic conditions like Klinefelter syndrome, Y chromosome deletions, and cystic fibrosis mutations can interfere with normal reproductive function in males.
  2. Lifestyle Factors or bad choices can exert a significant influence on male fertility. Smoking tobacco, excessive alcohol consumption, and illicit drug use have been linked to decreased sperm quality and quantity. Again, the most common cause of infertility in males, as these substances can disrupt hormone levels and block sperm production.
  3. Hormonal Imbalance is the most common cause of infertility in males. Disruptions in hormonal balance, such as low levels of testosterone, follicle-stimulating hormone (FSH), or luteinising hormone (LH), and also conditions like hypogonadism or pituitary gland disorders can lead to hormonal imbalances and subsequently become top reasons of male infertility.
  4. Environmental Factors like toxic work environment or say exposure to environmental toxins and radiation can adversely affect male reproductive health. Chemicals found in pesticides, plastics, and industrial pollutants, radiation from sources like X-rays or occupational exposure – can disrupt hormonal balance, damage sperm DNA, and hamper sperm function.
  5. Hidden Medical Conditions also can impact male fertility by affecting sperm production, transportation, or ejaculation. For instance, varicocele, a condition characterised by enlarged veins within the scrotum, can lead to elevated testicular temperature, hampering sperm production and quality. Infections, such as sexually transmitted infections (STIs) or urinary tract infections (UTIs), can also damage the reproductive organs and hinder fertility.

How to Diagnose Male Infertility


Causes of Male infertility can be diagnosed through several factors as below: 

  1. Semen analysis is a primary diagnostic tool, assessing sperm count, motility, and morphology. Abnormalities in these parameters may indicate infertility issues.
  2. Imaging studies like ultrasound and MRI can reveal structural abnormalities in the reproductive system, such as varicoceles or blockages, which can cause male infertility symptoms.
  3. Genetic testing is crucial for identifying inherited conditions causing male fertility symptoms. These factors are chromosomal abnormalities or genetic mutations impacting sperm production or function.
  4. Hormonal testing evaluates levels of key hormones involved in sperm production, such as testosterone, follicle-stimulating hormone (FSH), luteinising hormone (LH), and prolactin. Imbalances in these hormones can disrupt the reproductive process.

Impact of male Infertility on IVF Treatment

Male infertility symptoms can significantly influence in vitro fertilization (IVF) treatment outcomes. 

  1. Treatment options for causes of male infertility:
    When male factor infertility is identified, various treatment options exist, such as intracytoplasmic sperm injection (ICSI) and surgical sperm retrieval techniques like testicular sperm extraction (TESE) or epididymal sperm aspiration (TESA). These interventions aim to overcome sperm-related challenges and enhance the chances of successful fertilisation.
  2. Emotional and psychological impact on couple
    The diagnosis often triggers feelings of inadequacy, guilt, and stress, leading to strains in the relationship. Couples may experience anxiety about the success of the treatment, fear of judgment from others on reasons of male infertility, and uncertainty about their future as parents. Down below we will discuss how these emotional burdens acan be warded off towards a smooth IVF.

Male Infertility Treatment Options for IVF


For IVF treatment, addressing male fertility concerns can involve various approaches. Let’s break down how each of these can be utilised in two different scenarios:

  1. Assisted Reproductive Technologies (ART)
    In cases where a man’s sperm count is low or the sperm quality is compromised, ART techniques like Intracytoplasmic Sperm Injection (ICSI) can be employed. During ICSI, a single healthy sperm is directly injected into the egg to facilitate fertilisation.Another ART option is sperm retrieval through techniques like testicular sperm extraction (TESE) or percutaneous epididymal sperm aspiration (PESA). These methods are suitable for men with obstructive azoospermia, where sperm production is normal but there is a blockage preventing sperm from reaching the ejaculate.
  2. Surgical Interventions like Varicocelectomy & Vasectomy Reversal
    Varicocelectomy procedure is performed to correct varicoceles, which are enlarged veins within the scrotum that can affect sperm production and quality. By removing the varicocele, blood flow to the testicles improves, potentially enhancing sperm production and removing causes of male infertility.Vasectomy Reversal is for men who have undergone a vasectomy and now wish to father children, a vasectomy reversal can be performed. During this procedure, the previously cut or blocked vas deferentia is reconnected, allowing sperm to once again travel from the testicles to the ejaculate.

How to Mentally Deal with Male Infertility During IVF Treatment


Couples dealing with male infertility during IVF can take several steps to address the emotional, psychological, and lifestyle factors associated with the process. But even before they take external help, some internal steps are also required: 

  1. Manage Stress and Anxiety as a Couple
    Open communication between partners is vital. Encouraging honest and supportive dialogue, setting realistic expectations, and acknowledging each other’s feelings can strengthen the couple’s bond and resilience throughout the IVF journey. Also, finding effective stress management techniques, such as hobbies together, going out for dates, mindfulness, meditation, yoga, or deep breathing exercises, can help reduce anxiety levels and promote relaxation.
  2. Support Groups and Counselling
    Joining support groups for infertility can provide couples with help in venting out, sharing experiences, concerns, as discussions can offer valuable emotional support. On the other hand, professional counselling, either individually or as a couple, can help navigate the complex emotions via experts’ communication tools, and a safe space to express feelings of grief, frustration, or anxiety.
  3. Lifestyle Changes to Improve Fertility
    Couples can focus on maintaining a balanced diet rich in fruits, vegetables, whole grains, lean proteins, and healthy fats. Regular exercise, within moderation, can help manage weight, reduce stress, and improve overall well-being. Avoiding tobacco, excessive alcohol consumption, and recreational drugs is crucial, as they remove certain causes of male infertility symptoms, and can enhance sperm production and quality.

Summing up, we have tried to share all aspects of understanding male infertility symptoms’ impact on IVF is crucial for couples seeking successful fertility treatment. If you wish to know more you may please write to our experts.

Suggested Read: Female Health Complications Which Leads to Infertility

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