Infertility can be devastating to a couple; estimates of infertility indicate that as many as 15% of all couples are infertile. Male fertility is an issue in half of all couples who have difficulty trying to conceive. Although both partners should be evaluated, Florida urologists commonly deal with male fertility problems while gynecologists deal with female fertility issues.
Male infertility can result from a varicocele, abnormalities in hormone production, medications such as steroids and chemotherapy, other substances such as marijuana or alcohol, injuries to the groin or testicles, diseases such as diabetes and mumps, or infections of the male reproductive tract. Varicoceles account for 30 to 40 percent of all male infertility problems. A varicocele is a dilation of the veins that drain the testicle. Varicoceles probably cause infertility by allowing the temperature of the testicles to become elevated, which affects sperm production. Varicoceles can be surgically repaired by an urologist.
When a fertility problem is suspected, the patient will undergo a complete physical examination. The physician collects a through medical history. The patient is asked to provide a semen sample for analysis. In addition to the number of sperm, a semen analysis evaluated the movement of the sperm, the total numbers, the speed at which sperm move and the total number of sperm that are moving. Other factors are evaluated, such as whether there are any abnormal or misshapen sperm and how much fructose the semen contains. Fructose is a nutrient for sperm and is usually found in the semen. The total amount of semen in comparison to the number of sperm is also evaluated, as a dilute specimen can decrease the chances of conception. Although lab work is not always performed, hormone levels may be drawn.
Treatment for infertility depends on the primary cause or causes. Timing of intercourse is a strategy that fosters conception if intercourse occurs during or near ovulation. Lubricants and saliva can decrease sperm survival, so the patient may be advised to avoid the use of lubricants and avoid oral sex. If necessary, medications may be changed to promote fertility, and some substances such as alcohol, tobacco and marijuana should be avoided, as all are toxic to sperm. Hormone therapy may be needed if the problem is a hormone abnormality. Infections are treated with antibiotics. If the primary cause is a varicocele, surgery may be necessary. A varicocelectomy is an outpatient procedure in which the urologist makes a small incision in the groin area. The dilated veins are tied off.
Occasionally a man is not actually infertile but has had a vasectomy and wants to reverse the procedure. In that case, the urologist can attempt to reconnect the tubes that carry sperm; the procedure is more likely to be successful if the vasectomy was relatively recent and the surgeon is very skillful. Major infertility centers in Miami can also provide artificial insemination or in vitro fertilization. Treatment for male infertility is highly effective; after treatment, many couples are able to have children through intercourse. For more information visit clinics like Urology Specialty Care in Miami, FL, and get the answers you seek.