6 Leading Treatment Options for Male Infertility
Women aren’t the only ones struggling with issues of infertility. About 1 out of every 3 infertility cases, the problem actually has to do with the man. Likewise, women aren’t the only ones who have lots of infertility treatment options available to them.
There may be lots of reasons why a man might be struggling with infertility, but fortunately, there are also lots of ways to treat various causes.
Below you are going to find an overview of the most common treatment options for male infertility. We have options from vitamin supplements to operations…and everything in between.
Here’s what this article should do: it should empower men to visit their doctors, get a better idea of why they are struggling with infertility, and know there are so many different ways to get help.
When Is It Time for Male Infertility Treatments?
Before we dive into the 6 leading treatment options for male infertility, let’s take a moment to discuss when these are going to come into play.
Most doctors say that a healthy couple should try on their own for about 1 year before they seek the help of a fertility specialist who can figure out what types of treatments are the right fit. As long as you don’t have any other health problems, you can choose to go this path.
However, if you have any of the following symptoms, don’t wait so long:
- Pain, swelling, or lumps on or around the testicles
- Difficulty getting or maintaining an erection
- Difficulty ejaculating
- Low sex drive
- History of testicle, prostate, grain, penis, scrotum, or any sexual problems/surgeries
You can also choose to get a full physical right away even if you have no symptoms. This visit will help to check for the most common causes of male infertility that often go by undetected:
- Low sperm count
- Poor sperm motility
- Hormone imbalance
- Celiac disease
- And more
6 Male Infertility Treatment Options
Once your doctor has full analyzed your semen sample, physical body, medical history, and any additional testing, he or she will most likely recommend one or more of these top male infertility treatments.
Sometimes your fertility issues can be fixed (or at least helped) with some medical treatments. This is commonly the answer for those with:
- Hormone Imbalance: Various medications can help rebalance hormones like testosterone, estradiol, luteinizing hormone, or follicle stimulating hormone. This often comes in the form of hormone therapy injections, which can take over a year.
- Erectile Dysfunction: ED drugs help increase blood flow to the penis. This is helpful for men who struggle to maintain an erection and cannot ejaculate when they are trying to conceive. About 70% of men with erectile dysfunction find sufficient help with these medications.
- Antisperm antibodies: When your body is fighting off its own sperm, a round of corticosteroids may be able to lower the antibodies just enough for pregnancy success (if not, jump to treatment #3 below!)
- Infections: Sometimes a round of antibiotics can get rid of infections in areas like the testicles or epididymitis that can lead to fertility troubles. Some antibiotics can actually harm sperm, so talk about your options carefully with your doctor.
For some, medication will be the cure. You take them, and your fertility problems are gone. For others, it may just be a little helping hand you incorporate with other treatment options below.
Our next male infertility treatment may not be something most people realize is available to them…but it can be effective depending upon your cause of infertility.
Sometimes all the fertility aspects are there – like plenty of sperm – but there are some troubles in the actual sex phase. Sexual dysfunction is common, but men don’t often feel comfortable seeking help for it. Outside of causing issues for your life in general, these problems can greatly affect fertility.
Many times, conditions like erectile dysfunction and premature ejaculation can be brought on by emotional and psychological traumas. Talking to a therapist can help you get to the point where they do not cause your life and your fertility problems.
Keep in mind the stress of struggling to get pregnant can become a vicious cycle…making it harder to get pregnant. A therapist can teach stress coping skills.
3. Assisted Reproductive Technology
There are many times when you have healthy sperm, but there is still a big problem in making a baby. This could be due to anything from problems ejaculating to unknown fertility issues. Fortunately, there are many types of assisted reproductive technology (ART) that can help you out.
Here’s a rundown of the common choices:
- In Vitro Fertilization (IVF): This is when your sperm is mixed with a few eggs within a plastic dish. The fertilized egg is then placed in the uterus. The success rate is largely determined by the age of the woman. If she’s under 35, it works almost half of the time. If she’s over 40, it only works between 13% to 18% of the time. While this is sometimes used for male infertility, it’s often used for female infertility.
- Intracytoplasmic Sperm Injection (ICSI): This is when one sperm is injected into one egg and placed inside the uterus. Normally about 75% to 85% of eggs will be fertilized normally for this process, meaning it’s one of the more highly effective fertility treatments. ICSI is most commonly used for male infertility.
- Intrauterine Insemination (IUI): This is when your sperm is injected straight into the woman’s uterus. The success rate largely depends upon other measures a woman is taking. For example, it’s more successful if paired with IVF than it is with only female fertility drugs (55% success rate vs. 10% success rate). It’s often used for female infertility and “severe” male factor infertility.
But how do they go in and get your sperm for the ART procedures? A traditional sample could be used. Since this is an ART treatment, the man can have very low sperm count and still be able to participate in IVF. If the man cannot ejaculate, there are other options including:
Sperm Retrieval Option 1: Electroejaculation Therapy
This fertility treatment is for men who have plenty of healthy sperm, but cannot ejaculate for one reason or another. A current is used to electrically bring upon ejaculation, a process done under anesthesia. This is common in men with:
- Spinal cord injuries
- Pelvic surgery
- Multiple sclerosis
- Retroperitoneal lymph node dissection
- Loss of orgasm
Sperm Retrieval Option 2: Penile Vibratory Stimulation
Essentially a vibrator will be used to help the body get a natural climax. This is a good option for those who have a hard time ejaculating, but it isn’t impossible for you to ejaculate. It’s simple, non-invasive, and quite successful. A scientific review showed that around 80% of men with spinal cord injuries are able to ejaculate with penile vibratory stimulation.
Sperm Retrieval Option 3: Testicular Sperm Extraction/Testicular Fine Needle Aspiration
This is when the sperm is taken directly from the testicle. This one may seem the scariest, but it happens while you are under anesthesia…and it’s actually quite successful. One study looked at sperm retrieval procedures in 381 men with obstructive azoospermia. You know how many were successful? All 381!
This next section may seem daunting, but don’t get too concerned. Male surgical fertility procedures tend to be simple and effective. You may need surgery to:
- Repair blockages: Surgeries like epididymovasostomy (AKA: epididymis blockage removal) or ejaculatory duct resection (AKA: getting rid of blockages along the ejaculation ducts) can get rid of any growth, tissue, cyst, stone, etc. that are blocking sperm from getting out with each ejaculation.
- Repair varicocele: In a varicocelectomy, the doctor will repair veins in the scrotum, so sperm can move more easily…it also helps with the semen’s sperm concentration. Depending on the type of repair your doctor chooses, the pregnancy rate will be between 29% and 42% post-treatment.
Here’s a quick video you can watch of a couple documenting their experience as the men heads to a fertility clinic for varicocele surgery. It may help you get an idea of what to expect:
- Reverse a vasectomy: A doctor will reconnect the vas deferens while the patient is under anesthesia so sperm can come out during ejaculation. It often takes a few hours and requires a week or two for recovery. You have to wait to have sex for at least one month post-op. The success rate? Sperm return is often as high as 95%.
Many fertility procedures are just quick outpatient surgeries, and you’ll feel back to yourself in no time.
5. Change Your Lifestyle
Sometimes dealing with your fertility has nothing to do with complex surgical procedures or heavy-duty medications. Sometimes you just have to make different decisions from day-to-day.
Unlike the other male infertility treatments above, you don’t ever have to wait to begin these changes! In fact, you shouldn’t wait!
Here are some of the top lifestyle choices that can make all the difference in your fertility journey:
- Stop smoking: All types of smoking greatly lower your fertility. It’s something you won’t be able to do around a pregnant woman or baby anyway, so you might as well quit now. Smoking makes assisted reproductive technology treatments less likely to succeed as well!
- Stop drug use: It’s obvious, but still worth mentioning…illicit drugs are not good for you or for your fertility. If you have an addiction, talking to a therapist and/or doctor can be of great help.
- Cut down on drinking: Though a beer or two here and there shouldn’t be a problem, drinking multiple drinks on multiple days of the week can be. One study showed that 25 units of alcohol per week (which is equivalent to around 18 beers in a week) will really harm your sperm count and morphology. And the problem keeps growing the more you drink.
- Lose excess weight: Being overweight can harm your fertility. Talk to a trainer or your doctor about ways to slowly (AKA: safely!) bring it down. Boosting your exercise can be a great choice.
- Sleep more: Your body needs rest to be in tip-top shape…that includes your reproductive system. You should be aiming for 7 to 8 hours each night. Too much and too little is a problem. In fact, one study showed that men who sleep less than 6 hours per night or more than 9 hours per night have their conception odds reduced by 42%! That’s almost half!
- Eat Better: The foods you eat can make or break your fertility. A massive scientific review discovered that some of the top foods for male infertility included fish (hello omega-3 fatty acids!), veggies, fruits, and low-fat dairy. Men who eat a bunch of processed meat, soy, potatoes, sugar, and full-fat dairy had poorer semen quality.
Let’s end with the best news yet. Sometimes you don’t need such extreme measures to treat male fertility issues. It may be as simple as correcting some nutrient efficiencies or deficiencies. Hard to believe? Well, a scientific overview of 2,600 cases found that infertile men had way less zinc into their systems than fertile men. And that’s just a trace mineral!
Like the lifestyle changes, you don’t have to wait for months of unsuccessful trying to move onto supplements. Start at the beginning – you may want to even start well before the beginning. If you know you’ll be trying in 6 to 12 months, give your body the head start it needs.
Here are some of the top nutrients and herbs that can reverse your fertility troubles:
- B Complex
- Vitamin C
- Vitamin D
- Vitamin E
- Sunflower lecithin
- Longjack Tongkat Ali
- N-Acetyl Cysteine
- And more
All of these ingredients can be found conveniently joined together in the Eu Natural Conception Men supplement. Just 2 capsules a day can support your reproductive system and make it easier for your fertility.
Finding Optimal Fertility for Men
As you can see, there are so many different options that can help you have the baby you want to have. Your first steps are to immediately change any of those lifestyle problems, clean up your diet, and start natural supplements.
The next step is to make an appointment with a doctor who can narrow down the causes of infertility and figure out which treatment options can make all the difference.