For approximately one third of those dealing with fertility issues, the cause of infertility is a male factor problem. Most of these problems are related to sperm count and motility.
Successful evaluation and treatment of male factor infertility requires close collaboration between the urologist, the fertility specialist and the reproductive laboratory. Male infertility can be attributed to a wide array of causes, both genetic and lifestyle-oriented:
- Absence of a vas deferens
- Being overweight
- Certain prescription drugs
- Chromosomal problems affecting sperm production
- High temperature exposure of the genitals
- Hormonal Issues
- Issues with concentration, motility and morphology
- Past vasectomy
- Problems in the hypothalamus or pituitary gland
- Testicular failure
- Tobacco/Marijuana/Alcohol use
- Undescended testes
Assisted reproductive technology allows ZFC to overcome most male factor problems, allowing fertilization, which otherwise would be impossible.
Intracytoplasmic Sperm Injection (ICSI)
A technological breakthrough in the mid 1990s known as Intracytoplasmic Sperm Injection has nearly eliminated all male factor problems, allowing IVF labs to inject a single sperm into a mature egg to result in normal fertilization.
After the egg is fertilized, the male factor is no longer an issue and the developing embryo is then cultured, tested and ultimately transferred to the uterus thereby establishing a normal pregnancy.
Zouves Fertility Center has one of the most successful Intracytoplasmic Sperm Injection programs in California. Regardless of the severity of male sperm dysfunction, we have a 70% fertilization rate. In other words, at Zouves Fertility Center the anticipated birth rate following IVF and ICSI is the same regardless of the absence, presence or severity of male infertility. As long as there is one motile sperm available, it can be injected resulting in a normal fertilization.
Testicular Sperm Extraction (TESE)
TESE is the process of removing a small fragment of testicular tissue under local anesthesia and extracting a few viable sperm cells present in that tissue for the purpose of ICSI. TESE is recommended for men who are unable to produce sperm by ejaculation as a result of primary testicular failure, congenital absence of the vas deferens or non-reconstructed vasectomy. Even in cases where the man does not ejaculate any sperm (and doesn’t have an obstruction), with TESE we may be able to successfully remove sperm for ICSI.
TESE is usually performed the same day as the egg retrieval by a ZFC partner urologist in our office.
The ability to do ICSI and TESE have all but eliminated the need for vasectomy reversal and have significantly reduced the need for donor sperm.