A kind of assistive reproductive technology (ART), in vitro fertilization (IVF) is a process of combining eggs retrieved from a woman’s ovaries with the sperm, and fertilizing them in a special laboratory. The fertilized egg, which is called an embryo, is grown in the lab for a few days, and then moved to a woman’s uterus through the cervix to increase the chances of pregnancy.
In Vitro Fertilization for Men
Among reproductive age couples, about 10-20 percent of them are affected by infertility, and the term male factor infertility is a problem associated with a male partner’s inability to conceive in couples. This may be because of:
- Low sperm production or oligospermia because of varicoceles or irregular swollen veins in the testicles, genetic or chromosomal challenges, etc.
- Abnormal morphology or teratospermia
- Poor sperm motility or asthenospermia causes difficult for the sperm to move to permeate a woman’s egg
- Physical or psychological problems that result in impotence, as well as infertility in males
- Clinical vasectomy or natural physiological congestion in male tubes
As for male factor infertility, it also includes the men who have conditions that fail to transport sperm to the vagina during unprotected intercourse despite the normal sperm production. This is owing to either ejaculatory dysfunction or reproductive tract obstruction. If a couple is evaluated for infertility and a male factor is guessed, a complete evaluation of the male partner is needed, and it should be treated and corrected. The doctor would suggest assisted reproductive techniques if the couple fails to conceive in spite of the treatment. The ART generally include IVF.
Also, Read: Who Needs IVF treatment
Why and When Should Men Undergo IVF Treatment?
Most men with male factor infertility can be treated using ART, and IVF for male infertility is sometimes considered to be the ideal treatment option. If the normal sperm concentration in a male partner is found to be very low in a semen analysis, IVF is generally recommended as the chances of becoming conceived for couples are far better than the intrauterine insemination (IUI) or timed intercourse. Where there are multiple fertility factors such as a congested tube and a low sperm count, advanced maternal age, and difficulty with ovulation, a doctor would suggest IVF as the best option. With the IVF treatment for men, there are high chances for the egg fertilization in the couples facing these conditions.
Also, Read: Why Couples Should Opt for IVF
Here Are a Few Reasons Why the IVF Treatment Would Be Effective for Men With Infertility:
- IVF helps use the sperm with poor motility to fertilize eggs. The sperm and egg are kept in a petri dish in close proximity so that the poorly motile sperm can easily reach the egg for fertilization without traveling much. Nevertheless, the fertilization is controlled in the lab.
- When achieving pregnancies is difficult for the male factors with low sperm counts, as well as with multiple abnormal defects, IVF, along with ICSI (intracytoplasmic sperm injection) helps attain fertilization; thus, assisting couples conceive.
The IVF process is joining the sperm with the egg of a woman partner in a specialized lab. This avoids any chance of the sperm not reaching the egg in the petri dish. Generally, the sperm has to travel along the challenging path to reach the cervix, the gate to the egg. The sperms, which are not the strongest, do not make it. Fertilization hardly happens if there are not enough sperms and they are not the strongest ones.
- IVF with ICSI is performed for a severe male factor. ICSI enhances the chances of fertilization for it involves injecting the sperm straight into a woman’s egg after choosing a sperm carefully. In the case of testicular sperm extraction (TESE), which is retrieving of the sperm through the biopsy of the testicle, ICSI is performed. Similarly, a frozen sperm specimen also asks for the ICSI process for the effective and safe male factor infertility treatment.
How Is IVF for Men Performed?
Among common fertility treatments, IVF for men appears on top of the list. The IVF process contains five steps and they are:
The woman factor in the couple who cannot conceive is administered fertility drugs to produce more than one egg, which otherwise is only one during the menstrual cycle. For the successful IVF treatment, multiple eggs are required to develop a viable embryo. In the meantime, the doctor performs regular ultrasounds and blood tests to monitor the hormone levels, ovaries and egg production.
With follicular aspiration, a minor surgical procedure is performed to retrieve the egg. The ultrasound guided needle inserted through the vagina reach the ovary and suctions eggs individually at a time.
This step helps collect the sperm from the male partner, and join it with the egg to produce embryos.
Once the embryos are developed and genetic conditions tested, they are ready for implantation. This is performed using a catheter inserted into the uterus to place the embryo.
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