Azoospermia- advances in fertility treatment options

Earlier it was assumed or believed that fertility problems are majorly in women. There were very few cases wherein the cause of the female not being able to get pregnant was the infertility of her male partner. But in past years our lifestyles our lifestyles have changed drastically. Also, thanks to technological advancements, our knowledge in the field of male infertility have increased. This has thrown light on many male infertility scenarios or problems.

The fertility of a couple depends upon many factors in both the male and female partner. One of the problems found in males is azoospermia. It is a condition where there is a complete absence of sperm from the fluid ejaculated during orgasm. This can cause male infertility. It is found in 10% of male infertility scenarios.  

Azoospermia can further be categorized into two. One is obstructive azoospermia (OA) and another is non-obstructive azoospermia (NOA). In obstructive azoospermia, sperm is produced in testes but the reproductive ducts are blocked and hence are not ejaculated. In non-obstructive azoospermia, there is no sperm production with normal anatomy.

Now, there are number of treatments available for azoospermia including non-surgical, surgical and assisted reproductive technology.

Non-surgical treatments include:

•  Electroejaculation therapy

•  Hormone deficiency treatments

•  Clomiphene Citrate

Surgical treatments available are:

•  Varicocele Ligation

•  Sperm retrieval technique

•  Transurethral Resection of Ejaculatory Duct

Assisted Reproductive Technologies;

•  ICSI and IVF

When sperm are produced, but in low numbers, IVF or In-Vitro Fertilization along with assisted fertilization method named “ICSI” (Intracytoplasmic Sperm Injection) is used for helping out couples facing problems in achieving pregnancy. Until the mid -1990s, donor sperm was the only treatment available for azoospermia. But now that is not the case. The technology has advanced and there are better treatments available for the same. There is a procedure named TESA which is Testicular Sperm Aspiration which may be offered to collect sperm directly from testes where it is produced and then use the same in IVF treatment.  

Some treatments for male infertility may fail, and some cases of male infertility simply cannot be treated at this time. If this is the case, an infertility specialist can advise the couple of available alternatives.

Men with irreversible infertility and testosterone deficiency may find testosterone treatment beneficial. Although it has to be kept in mind that this treatment may not address a couple’s goal of having a child, it can improve the male partner’s sexual function and mood and help increase and maintain bone and muscle mass.

So, there has been a lot of advances in the treatment of male infertility and the same applies to azoospermia as well.