Approximately 50% of couples struggling with infertility will have a male component present as a contributing factor! Almost 20% of these couples will have a male factor present as the sole cause of infertility. Therefore, if infertility is suspected, it is crucial that all males be properly evaluated in a timely fashion. We believe that both partners should be evaluated for infertility simultaneously to avoid unnecessary testing and delays should a male factor be diagnosed.
There are multiple forms of male infertility. Sometimes a varicocele, dilated veins surrounding the testicle(s), is identified. Varicoceles can potentially lower sperm counts and quality. Additionally, it is very common for men to experience temporary erectile or ejaculatory dysfunction when dealing with the stress of infertility. Other times, the male may have had a previous vasectomy and is now interested in future fertility. These couples may choose to pursue vasectomy reversal or in vitro fertilization (IVF) to conceive.
Fertility is an important consideration for men who will be undergoing cancer treatment as it may place their future fertility at risk. Fertility preservation counseling is crucial for these men PRIOR to starting treatment. Lastly, some men may need sperm to be extracted directly from their testicles (sperm extraction). The reasons for type of operation are quite variable and complex. Fortunately, for men with no sperm in their ejaculate (non-obstructive azoospermia or NOA), studies indicate there is approximately a 50% chance of finding sperm at the time of microsurgical testicular sperm extraction (micro-TESE).