Trouble With Male-Factor Infertility

Male-factor infertility happens when the male partner is unable to impregnate the woman. There are 3 types of male-factor infertility such as varicocele, spermatocele, and hydrocele. Each factor affects the ability to become pregnant in a different way.


1. The engorgement of veins

Varicocele is the enlargement of veins in the scrotum which hold the testicles and affects 10%-15% of men. Many men do not show any symptoms however, this male factor creates a negative impact on fertility. Not every man with varicocele has infertility issues. When veins enlarge, sperm and sperm count are affected which can be managed with surgery.

2. Abnormal growth near testicle

Spermatocele is a benign cyst that grows in the epididymis, which is a coiled tube behind the testicle. The cyst is painless and contains clear or milky white fluid and sperm. Spermatocele lessens the quality and quantity of sperm. Most spermatoceles do not require treatment unless if spermatocele is big. Spermatocele does not cause infertility issues but spermatocele treatment can affect fertility.

3. Accumulation of fluid in a sac

Hydrocele is the buildup of fluid in the scrotum that contains the testicles. This fluid accumulation causes swelling of the scrotum. At times hydrocele does not require treatment but if large, then surgery or needle aspiration may be necessary. The impact on fertility is very minimal with hydrocele.

Confirming male infertility

Couples who are not successful in becoming pregnant for at least a year require visiting a specialist. At the clinic, the doctor will obtain a medical history, do a physical exam, and order some tests. The foremost important test is doing a semen analysis to analyze the semen and sperm health. Blood tests will also be required to check hormone levels. Other possible tests include imaging tests like ultrasound and testicular biopsy may be conducted.

Fixing an infertility problem

Based on the reason for a patient’s infertility problem, a fertility specialist will advise on the right choice of treatment. Surgery helps to treat infertility in some medical conditions such as varicocele. Otherwise, doctors recommend other options such as artificial insemination, in vitro fertilization (IVF) or intracytoplasmic sperm injection.

Living with male-factor infertility

Men with varicocele have a good outlook with a return to fertility. Surgery performed on varicocele increases sperm count and fertility. Spermatocele usually does not require treatment but if needed, ask the doctor about treatments and impact on fertility. The prognosis of hydrocele with or without treatment is excellent. If having difficulty with getting pregnant, speak to the doctor about all possible factors causing infertility and treatment options.

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