Azoospermia And The Rise of Male Infertility

Often leading to higher cases of male infertility, azoospermia is defined as when there is no measurable amount of sperm in a male ejaculate. Recent reports note that around 10% of men currently experience infertility, and about 1% of all men experience azoospermia. Exact causes leading to azoospermia range from genetics, narcotic drug use, or those undergoing intensive chemotherapy. One treatment method, intracytoplasmic sperm injection (ICSI), has been favored among the rest. A form of in vitro fertilization (IVF), the ICSI procedure includes the injection of live sperm directly into an egg, within a laboratory setting.

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Two types of azoospermia

In general, there are two main types of azoospermia. Obstructive azoospermia refers to a direct blockage within the reproductive system, which blocks the production of sperm. Examples may include complications due to a traumatic injury, vasectomy or previous infection. In contrast, nonobstructive azoospermia is related to a lack of sperm production due to reproductive dysfunction or structural defects. For example, a male may have an extra X chromosome due to genetics, which has been associated with a lack of sperm.

New fertility developments using ICSI

First developed as an option to combat male infertility, ICSI has risen to popularity with successful clinical outcomes. The ICSI procedure has created an opportunity for families to move forward after experiencing complications with fertility. A report notes that successful fertilization rates can range between 80-85%, but there are some risks with ICSI. For example, there could be damage to the eggs during the procedure. Another example includes the appearance of an abnormal chromosome in the infant at birth.

Successful clinical outcomes with ICSI

In a recent study, researchers sought to compare the clinical outcomes from obstructive azoospermia and nonobstructive azoospermia families by ICSI. Out of 154 participants involved, researchers discovered that the overall outcomes were similar between both groups. Children born through ICSI were healthy and lacked developmental and birth-related impairments. The researchers surmised that the clinical outcomes were positive between the obstructive and nonobstructive azoospermia participants who used ICSI.

Reducing barriers to fertility through ICSI

Although the exact causes of azoospermia vary, treatment options exist for those encountering complications related to male infertility. ICSI has created a successful pathway for families experiencing difficulty with conception and fertility. The ICSI procedure has shown positive clinical outcomes for patients with either obstructive and nonobstructive azoospermia. Although some risks are present, patients have had healthy infants born without complications. For those with azoospermia seeking fertility treatment, the ICSI procedure remains a viable option for families.

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