Yes, you can father a child despite Infertility. Infertility does not mean that fatherhood is unattainable. With the help of various medical interventions and technologies, men facing the challenges of infertility have options to explore to achieve their goal of becoming a father.
It is important to debunk the common misconception that infertility is solely a female issue. In reality, approximately 30% of couples facing conception difficulties experience male infertility problems.
Men who are having trouble conceiving should not lose hope, as there are various options to explore. In this article, we will provide more information about male infertility and the available treatment alternatives.
How can I get pregnant if my male partner is infertile?
If your partner is unable to get you pregnant, you still have ways to have a baby:
- Fertility treatments: There are medical treatments available that can help you get pregnant. A common treatment is called in vitro fertilization (IVF), where eggs from your ovaries are fertilized with sperm in a laboratory. The resulting embryo is then placed in your uterus. This method can use your partner’s sperm or donor’s sperm if necessary.
- Donor sperm: If your partner’s sperm is not able to fertilize the egg, you can use a healthy donor’s sperm to get pregnant. This can be done through artificial insemination or IVF.
- Surrogacy: In some cases, if you are unable to conceive, you can work with surrogacy. A surrogate is the woman who raises the baby for you. In this procedure, your egg or donor egg can be fertilized with your partner’s sperm, and the resulting embryo is implanted in the surrogate’s uterus.
Adoption or parenting: If having a biological child is not a priority for you, adopting or raising is a great way to expand your family. This allows you to provide a lovely home to the child who needs it.
How does Male Infertility Happen?
About 10% to 15% of infertile men experience a complete absence of sperm. This can be attributed to factors such as hormone imbalance or inhibition hindering sperm movement.
The second scenario occurs when a man produces less sperm than normal. Of the various causes of this condition, the most common is a condition called varicocele, which is characterized by the enlargement of a vein in the testicles.
Signs and Symptoms of Male Infertility - What to Look Out For
Male infertility may not always display clear signs or symptoms. However, some indicators may suggest potential fertility problems. Here are some common signs you should be wary of:
- Difficulty obtaining or maintaining an erection: Persistent difficulties in obtaining or maintaining an erection can indicate an underlying problem that can affect fertility.
- Problems with ejaculation: If you experience problems with ejaculation, such as premature ejaculation, delayed ejaculation, or retrograde ejaculation (where semen enters the bladder instead of ejaculate), it can affect fertility.
- Low sperm count: Although it generally does not present noticeable symptoms, low sperm count (oligospermia) can contribute to infertility. It is usually diagnosed through semen analysis during fertility assessment.
- Abnormal sperm quality or motility: Poor sperm morphology (abnormal size) or low sperm motility (speed) can affect the sperm’s ability to reach the egg and fertilize it. These issues can be identified through semen analysis.
- Pain, swelling or lumps in the testicles: The presence of unexplained pain, swelling or lumps in the testicles may indicate an underlying condition that affects fertility, such as varicocele or testicular cancer.
- Hormonal imbalance: Symptoms such as decreased facial or body hair, gynecomastia (enlargement of breast tissue), or a significant decrease in sex drive can be a sign of hormonal imbalances that can affect fertility.
What Treatment Options are Available for Male Infertility?
Depending on the underlying cause, there are several treatment options available for male infertility. Here are some common approaches:
- Medications: In cases where hormonal imbalance is causing infertility, hormone replacement therapy or medications can help restore normal hormone levels and improve sperm production.
- Surgery: Surgical intervention may be recommended to remove physical barriers or structural abnormalities that hinder sperm movement. Examples include varicocele repair, vasectomy reversal, or surgical correction of blockages in the reproductive tract.
- Assisted reproductive technology (ART): ART procedures can aid in achieving pregnancy despite male infertility. These techniques include:
- A. Intrauterine insemination (IUI): Sperm, either from a male partner or donor, is inserted directly into the woman’s uterus during her fertile period to increase the chances of fertilization.
- B. In vitro fertilization (IVF): This involves obtaining eggs from the woman and pairing them with sperm in a laboratory setting. The resulting embryo is then transferred to the woman’s uterus.
- C. Intracytoplasmic sperm injection (ICSI): In this procedure, a healthy sperm is injected directly into the egg to achieve fertilization. ICSI is often used in combination with IVF.
- Donor sperm: If the male partner’s sperm is severely damaged or absent, the use of donor sperm may be an option. Donor’s sperm is used in IUI or IVF procedures to fertilize a woman’s eggs.
- Genetic counseling: If male infertility is caused by genetic factors, genetic counseling may be recommended to assess the risk of passing of inherited conditions to offspring. Preimplantation genetic testing (PGT) can be done on embryos during IVF to select genetically healthy embryos for transfer.