Medications for infertility
Certain medications can help with fertility problems.
- Gonadotropins: These balance out abnormal levels of follicle stimulating hormone (FSH) and luteinizing hormone (LH), so that the body can produce healthy sperm. Gonadotropins usually take six months to a year or more to start showing results. Commonly used gonadotropins include human chorionic gonadotropin (hCG), human menopausal gonadotropin (hMG), gonadotropin releasing hormone (GnRH), or a combination if deemed necessary.
- Clomiphene citrate: Also known as Clomid, this drug is taken in the form of a pill. It helps fertility by stimulating the production of luteinizing hormone (LH) and follicle-stimulating hormone (FSH), as well as the production of testosterone and sperm. It’s more successfully used by women for infertility, but it is a viable option for many men, as well.
- Antibiotics: These don’t normally treat infertility, but they might be prescribed if a man has an infection that impacts his reproductive organs, like a sexually transmitted infection or a prostate infection.
- Medications or hormones for erections: Men who are experiencing erectile problems may take medications or hormone injections to help. Some commonly prescribed oral medications for erectile dysfunction include sildenafil (Viagra), tadalafil (Cialis), vardenafil (Levitra, Staxyn) and avanafil (Stendra). They do come with the possibility of side effects including nasal congestion, vision problems, and back pains.
Surgery for infertility
Another option for treatment is surgery. This is only necessary for some specific problems, though, so before you consider any surgical procedure, make sure to discuss all your options with your provider.
- Varicocele repair: A varicocele is a condition in which a vein or multiple veins in the scrotum become enlarged. This affects sperm quality and quantity, as well as testosterone production. Varicoceles are the most common known cause of infertility among men, and surgical treatment involves removing or tying off the varicocele.
- Surgery of reproductive tract: For some men, the tubes that transport sperm from the testicles are blocked, causing infertility. In many cases surgery can correct these blockages; if this doesn’t work, doctors will often use sperm retrieval technology.
- Penile implants: Men with erectile dysfunction may choose to get penile implants, which help them get an erection. Possible complications from this surgery include bleeding after the surgery, infection, and scar tissue in the area.
Assisted reproductive technology (ART) treatment
When medication and surgery don’t help male infertility, different types of ART might help a couple conceive faster.
- In vitro fertilization (IVF): This form of ART involves retrieving egg and sperm from each partner, and then mixing them in a dish inside a laboratory so that the sperm can fertilize the egg.
- Intracytoplasmic sperm injection (ICSI): With ICSI, specialists collect eggs and sperm and inject the sperm directly into the egg in a laboratory. This is especially helpful for men who don’t produce a lot of sperm or whose sperm are damaged.
- Surgical sperm retrieval: This minor surgery is often a good option for men who can’t produce sperm. The patient is anesthetized, and then the doctor uses a small needle to extract sperm from either the epididymis, testicles, or testes.
- Embryo or semen freezing: This procedure is different from egg freezing in that the egg isn’t the only thing that is frozen; the egg and sperm are fertilized before they’re frozen. This procedure helps with the safety and cost of trying different fertility procedures.
Psychological counseling for infertility
Psychological health issues can affect fertility in many ways. Erectile and ejaculatory problems are some of the more common issues that may be affected by one’s mental state. Talking to a healthcare provider about therapy, medications, or dual therapy may be beneficial for men who are experiencing fertility problems.
When it comes to male infertility, there are a lot of different treatment options available. Sometimes all it takes are simple lifestyle changes, a healthy diet, and regular exercise for a man to increase his fertility. But for men who need a different option, it’s important to find the best treatment plan for their unique situation.
Mayo Clinic Staff. “Male infertility: treatments and drugs.” MayoClinic. Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research, Aug 11 2015. Web.
“Infertility in men treatment.” UCSFHealth. UCSF Medical Center, 2016. Web.
Robert Cook-Deegan. “Treating male infertility.” Stanford.edu. Stanford in Washington Seminar and Tutorial: How Decisions Are Made About Health Research and Health Policy, 2003. Web.
Bart CJM Fauser. “Patient education: Infertility treatment with gonadotropins (Beyond the Basics).” UptoDate. Up to Date Inc., 2016. Web.
Marc Goldstein. “Male Factor Infertility: How Varicocele Repair Can Be an Effective Treatment.” Resolve. RESOLVE: The National Infertility Association Since 1974, 2012. Web.
“Baby boosting fertility drugs for men.” AttainFertility. IntegraMed America, 2016. Web.
Richard Sherbahn. “Intracytoplasmic Sperm Injection – ICSI and IVF.” AdvancedFertility. Advanced Fertility Center of Chicago, 2016. Web.
Mayo Clinic Staff. “Erectile Dysfunction: Treatments and drugs.” MayoClinic. Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research, May 25 2016. Web.