Male-Factor Mysteries: Donor Sperm vs Alternative Solutions For Fatherhood

Male-Factor Mysteries: Donor Sperm vs Alternative Solutions For Fatherhood

Paying Attention To Male-Factor Infertility

Male reproductive issues cause a third of all infertility cases, while another third are attributed to problems with both the male and female. With such staggering statistics in mind, male-factor infertility requires attention and solutions. Donor sperm is a great option to consider, but other assisted reproductive technology (ART) solutions are also available.


Understanding male-factor

If attempts at conception have been unsuccessful after at least 1 year of trying, a fertility assessment should be ordered. In some cases, the doctor may determine that the male partner is the reason why a pregnancy has not occurred. Low sperm production, abnormal sperm function, blockages, certain illnesses, injuries, and chronic health problems can all cause male-factor infertility. Lifestyle choices, such as cigarette smoking and excessive alcohol use, can also contribute to infertility in men. Most men will not experience any symptoms, besides an inability to get a partner pregnant, so a sperm analysis is essential to obtain more information.

Treatment options are available

With ART, men with infertility can still father a child. Even among individuals with low sperm count, pregnancy is possible. In vitro fertilization (IVF) is considered the gold standard for fertility treatment. With IVF, the male partner will be asked to provide a sperm sample, and the female partner will take fertility medication and undergo an egg retrieval. An embryologist will then combine both specimens in the lab to create an embryo. Even with poor sperm quality or quantity, the fertility expert can often find 1 good sperm, which is all that is needed for success.

Additional interventions

Beyond standard IVF, additional procedures are available to increase the chances of success. Intracytoplasmic sperm injection (ICSI) is growing in popularity and may be worth considering when male-factor infertility is at play. With this procedure, the embryologist injects a single healthy sperm directly into the egg. Approximately 50-80% of ICSI attempts result in fertilization. Additional procedures, such as preimplantation genetic testing (PGT), can check the genetic health of the embryo, guaranteeing that the best option is transferred.

What about donor sperm?

When traditional IVF methods using personal sperm have been exhausted, another option to consider is donor sperm. This approach can be especially beneficial for men with azoospermia. In this scenario, sperm is donated from a relative or friend or obtained more anonymously from a sperm bank. The sperm is then combined with the female partner’s egg using IVF to achieve a pregnancy. Although the baby will not be genetically related to the father, donor sperm allows couples to experience the joy of pregnancy and achieve the dream of having a baby.

Unlock the mystery of infertility

Male-factor infertility doesn’t have to be a roadblock to parenthood. IVF is an effective option to consider. The addition of ICSI can increase the chances of success when healthy sperm are limited. In cases where no viable sperm can be found, a donor is worth considering. Regardless of the route chosen, parenthood is possible with the right fertility treatment.

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