Overcoming Male-Factor Infertility

Conversations about infertility often focus exclusively on the woman, but men are an influential component too. Research suggests that a third of all infertility cases are solely caused by issues with the male partner. In many cases, poor sperm motility is the primary culprit that makes getting pregnant difficult for couples. Many people turn to in vitro fertilization (IVF) as a cure-all solution when asthenozoospermia is at play. While IVF can help, other fertility add-ons like intracytoplasmic sperm injection (ICSI) can increase success rates even further.


When dad is the problem

A diagnosis of male-factor infertility simply means that the inability to get pregnant can be attributed to issues with the male partner. Male-factor can refer to various physiological and hormonal issues that make conception difficult. Poor sperm quality, difficulty achieving an erection, low testosterone levels, and even reduced sperm motility, or asthenozoospermia, all qualify.

Is IVF the answer?

Many people view IVF as a cure-all solution for any infertility issue. The reality is that depending on the fertility issue present, different assisted reproductive therapy (ART) methods may be preferred. For example, a couple with a male partner diagnosed with asthenozoospermia or poor sperm motility might still struggle to conceive with standard IVF since the sperm will still struggle to swim toward the egg efficiently.

The case for ICSI

Whether a man has a low sperm count or poor motility, ICSI can be a great solution. The process injects a single sperm directly into the egg, increasing the chances of creating a viable embryo. Couples with previous failed IVF cycles will often be encouraged to consider the option. Although ICSI isn’t a guarantee, direct injection of the sperm can be helpful for men who need to bypass motility issues.


Another alternative is gamete intrafallopian transfer (GIFT). While not as direct as IVF with ICSI, GIFT places a semen and egg mixture directly in a woman’s fallopian tubes, increasing the chances of connection. Couples might also want to consider intrauterine insemination (IUI). With this treatment, a semen sample is inserted directly into a woman’s uterus, reducing the distance sperm must travel. IUI tends to be less expensive than standard IVF and can be an ideal alternative, assuming that the woman has no reproductive issues.

Facilitating conception

In vitro fertilization tends to be the most well-known fertility treatment option. However, a variety of solutions or IVF modifications exist to help couples achieve conception. For male-factor infertility, ICSI is the most direct solution. Men concerned about sperm motility issues should speak with fertility specialists to discuss options for having a baby.

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