Boxers or Briefs? All About Male Infertility Treatment
Don't let this title mislead you, there is no strong scientific evidence to support switching from briefs to boxers for male infertility treatment. Make sure your partner knows this fact!
Male infertility treatment is helping many couples get pregnant. Let’s look at some male infertility treatments and how they may help you start your family.
Intrauterine Insemination (IUI)
Intrauterine insemination (IUI) is often used as a male infertility treatment, particularly in couples with mild male infertility. For men with retrograde ejaculation that stems from diabetes or other problems, IUI may help you conceive.
During the IUI procedure, your partner’s sperm is removed from his semen. The sperm is washed, which activates the sperm for fertilization. The washed sperm sample is then inserted into your uterus. This procedure improves the number of sperm reaching the site of fertilization, bypassing your cervix, the main site of female sperm antibody production.
Intracytoplasmic sperm injection
Intracytoplasmic sperm injection (ICSI) is used by most IVF centers across the globe and is the key player in male infertility treatment, particularly for men with low sperm counts or poor motility. ICSI involves directly injecting a sperm into the egg (oocyte). The sperm passes the outer coverings of the egg and barriers to fertilization.
Because only a small number of sperm are needed with ICSI, this male infertility treatment may be used for couples who have failed at IVF.
Healthy lifestyle changes
Did you know that there is a strong link between certain lifestyle habits and male fertility? For example:
- Overweight or obese men have decreased testosterone, less semen, and more sperm abnormalities
- Smokers have a decline in sperm function and erection problems
- Heavy use of alcohol affects both sperm count and function
- Running more than 20 miles a week may reduce fertility
The good news is your partner can boost his fertility by eating a balanced diet, staying at a healthy weight, avoiding alcohol and cigarettes, and exercising moderately.
Medications and male fertility
Ask your doctor about male fertility drug options. Sometimes hormonal therapies are prescribed, particularly if the infertility results from hypogonadotropic hypogonadism.
Regarding medications, a commonly prescribed blood pressure drug (calcium channel blocker) can affect fertility. Switching to another hypertension drug may be the only male infertility treatment your partner needs.
Also, while Viagra does not boost fertility, it can enhance a man’s sexual performance without affecting the sperm. At times, better sex is a male infertility treatment in itself!
Surgery for male infertility treatment
Has your RE recommended surgery to correct your partner’s varicocele, a varicose vein of the scrotum? In theory, the dilation of the scrotal veins may increase temperature, which could reduce sperm quality. While sperm counts may increase after varicocele surgery and some believe the surgery may help men with a large varicocele, there’s little conclusive data that varicocele surgery is an effective male infertility treatment.
New hope with male infertility treatment
Most experts believe the couple is a “unit” when it comes to fertility. Diagnosing and treating the couple can further increase the chances that you will get pregnant. Today, there is much hope for male infertility treatment. Using high-tech treatments alongside commonsense lifestyle changes, you and your partner can benefit from the best treatments that let you get pregnant—and start your family.
- NIH/National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences. "Obesity In Men Linked To Infertility."
- European Society for Human Reproduction and Embryology. "Obese Men Have Less Semen, More Sperm Abnormalities."
- World Health Organization. Towards more objectivity in diagnosis and management of male infertility.
- Bruce D, Thatcher S., Berg, B. Making a Baby.