The volume of the semen sample, approximate number of total sperm cells, sperm motility/forward progression, and % of sperm with normal morphology are measured. This is the most common type of fertility testing. Semen deficiencies are often labeled as follows:
- "Oligospermia or "Oligozoospermia - decreased number of spermatozoa in semen
- "Aspermia - complete lack of semen
- "Hypospermia - reduced seminal volume
- "Azoospermia - absence of sperm cells in semen
- "Teratospermia - increase in sperm with abnormal morphology
- "Asthenozoospermia - reduced sperm motility
There are various combinations of these as well, e.g. Teratoasthenozoospermia, which is reduced sperm morphology and motility. Low sperm counts are often associated with decreased sperm motility and increased abnormal morphology, thus the terms "oligoasthenoteratozoospermia" or "oligospermia" can be used as a "catch-all.
Common hormonal test include determination of "FSH and "testosterone levels. A blood sample can reveal genetic causes of infertility, e.g. "Klinefelter syndrome, a "Y chromosome microdeletion, or "cystic fibrosis.
"Ultrasonography of the "scrotum is useful when there is a suspicion of some particular diseases. It may detect signs of "testicular dysgenesis, which is often related to an impaired spermatogenesis and to a higher risk of "testicular cancer. Scrotum ultrasonography may also detect testicular lesions suggestive of malignancy. A decreased testicular vascularization is characteristic of testicular torsion, whereas hyperemia is often observed in "epididymo-orchitis or in some malignant conditions such as "lymphoma and "leukemia. "Doppler ultrasonography useful in assessing "venous reflux in case of a "varicocele, when palpation is unreliable or in detecting recurrence or persistence after surgery, although the impact of its detection and surgical correction on sperm parameters and overall fertility is debated.
Dilation of the head or tail of the "epididymis is suggestive of obstruction or inflammation of the "male reproductive tract. Such abnormalities are associated with abnormalities in sperm parameters, as are abnormalities in the texture of the epididymis. Scrotal and "transrectal ultrasonography (TRUS) are useful in detecting uni- or bilateral "congenital absence of the vas deferens (CBAVD), which may be associated with abnormalities or "agenesis of the epididymis, "seminal vesicles or kidneys, and indicate the need for "testicular sperm extraction. TRUS plays a key role in assessing azoospermia caused by obstruction, and detecting distal CBAVD or anomalies related to "obstruction of the ejaculatory duct, such as abnormalities within the duct itself, a median cyst of the prostate (indicating a need for cyst aspiration), or an impairment of the seminal vesicles to become enlarged or emptied.
Some strategies suggested or proposed for avoiding male infertility include the following:
- Avoiding "smoking as it damages sperm DNA
- Avoiding heavy "marijuana and "alcohol use.
- Avoiding excessive heat to the testes.
- Maintaining optimal frequency of coital activity: sperm counts can be depressed by daily coital activity and sperm motility may be depressed by coital activity that takes place too infrequently (abstinence 10–14 days or more).
- Wearing a "protective cup and "jockstrap to protect the testicles, in any sport such as "baseball, "football, "cricket, "lacrosse, "hockey, "softball, "paintball, "rodeo, "motorcross, "wrestling, "soccer, "karate or other "martial arts or any sport where a ball, foot, arm, knee or bat can come into contact with the groin.
Treatments vary according to the underlying disease and the degree of the impairment of the male fertility. Further, in an infertility situation, the fertility of the female needs to be considered.
Pre-testicular conditions can often be addressed by medical means or interventions.
Testicular-based male infertility tends to be resistant to medication. Usual approaches include using the sperm for "intrauterine insemination (IUI), "in vitro fertilization (IVF), or IVF with "intracytoplasmatic sperm injection (ICSI). With IVF-ICSI even with a few sperm pregnancies can be achieved.
Obstructive causes of post-testicular infertility can be overcome with either surgery or IVF-ICSI. Ejaculatory factors may be treatable by medication, or by IUI therapy or IVF.
"Vitamin E helps counter oxidative stress, which is associated with sperm DNA damage and reduced sperm motility. A hormone-antioxidant combination may improve sperm count and motility. Oral antioxidants given to males in couples undergoing "in vitro fertilisation for male factor or unexplained subfertility result in significantly higher "live birth rate.["needs update]
Administration of "luteinizing hormone (LH) (or "human chorionic gonadotropin) and "follicle-stimulating hormone (FSH) is very effective in the treatment of male infertility due to "hypogonadotropic hypogonadism. Although controversial, off-label clomiphene citrate, an "antiestrogen, may also be effective by elevating "gonadotropin levels.
Though androgens are absolutely essential for spermatogenesis and therefore male fertility, exogenous testosterone therapy has been found to be ineffective in benefiting men with low sperm count. This is thought to be because very high local levels of testosterone in the testes (concentrations in the "seminiferous tubules are 20- to 100-fold greater than circulating levels) are required to mediate spermatogenesis, and exogenous testosterone therapy (which is administered systemically) cannot achieve these required high local concentrations (at least not without extremely supraphysiological dosages). Moreover, exogenous androgen therapy can actually impair or abolish male fertility by suppressing gonadotropin secretion from the "pituitary gland, as seen in users of androgens/"anabolic steroids (who often have partially or completely suppressed sperm production). This is because suppression of gonadotropin levels results in decreased testicular androgen production (causing diminished local concentrations in the testes) and because FSH is independently critical for spermatogenesis. In contrast to FSH, LH has little role in male fertility outside of inducing gonadal testosterone production.
"Estrogen, at some concentration, has been found to be essential for male fertility/spermatogenesis. However, estrogen levels that are too high can impair male fertility by suppressing gonadotropin secretion and thereby diminishing intratesticular androgen levels. As such, clomiphene citrate (an "antiestrogen) and "aromatase inhibitors such as "testolactone or "anastrozole have shown effectiveness in benefiting spermatogenesis.
Low-dose estrogen and testosterone combination therapy may improve sperm count and motility in some men, including in men with severe oligospermia.
Future potential treatments
Researchers at "Münster University developed in vitro culture conditions using a three-dimensional agar culture system which induces mouse testicular "germ cells to reach the final stages of "spermatogenesis, including "spermatozoa generation. If reproduced in humans, this could potentially enable "infertile men to father children with their own "sperm.
Researchers from Montana State University developed precursor of sperm from skin of infertile men. It is a ray of hope in real mean for future treatment of infertility in men.
- "Female infertility
- "Fertility preservation
- "Fertility testing
- "Male accessory gland infection (MAGI)
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