Azoospermia and IVF
Azoospermia is the medical name for cases where there’s no sperm in a man’s ejaculate. Studies show that around 10 percent of infertile men and 1 percent of all men have azoospermia. Azoospermia is different from “low sperm count”, in azoospermia the ejaculate doesn’t contain sperm, in other words, we can call the situation “no sperm count.”
There are many reasons for the occurrence of Azoospermia… There may be blockage along the reproductive tract, there may be hormonal problems, the individuals may be facing ejaculation problems, and there may be issues with testicular structure or function. The good news is that most of the causes are treatable and there is always an option to solve infertility.
Treatments of Azoospermia
There are several ways to treat Azoospermia. First of all, it is important to find the main cause that causes Azoospermia. If the case is about the obstructive conditions of the sperm flow then “Microsurgery” will be considered for the treatment.
If the Azoospermia is caused by increased levels of hormones such as FSH & HCG then “Hormone Treatment” will be considered to fix the situation.
If the Azoospermia is a result of genetic causes; then the doctor will suggest a treatment plan that maintains the chance of having a baby. Genetic-based Azoospermia can’t regain fertility but with the help of assisted reproductive procedures such as ICSI, the couples will sustain the opportunity of having a baby. “Sperm Retrieval” will be considered for the treatment.
Can You Get Pregnant with Azoospermia?
The simple answer is Yes! Couples who suffer from Azoospermia, have the chance to get pregnant with the help of IVF, ICSI, etc. When Azoospermia is developed as a result of a blockage or has a sperm production problem then Sperm harvesting has to be performed for IVF treatments. Sperm harvesting for the case of Azoospermia involves sperm retrieving directly from the testis or epididymis.
IVF will be the proper treatment when the sperm must be surgically retrieved from the testicles. ICSI is a procedure that needs only a single sperm to start the pregnancy. With the ICSI procedure, the physician will inject the sperm directly into the woman’s egg. The studies show that 25 – 30% of the candidates end up with a live birth from IVF with ICSI.
There are several ways to harvest sperm from a man with Azoospermia. There are 2 categories of Azoospermia; obstructive azoospermia and nonobstructive azoospermia. For individuals with obstructive azoospermia; Testicular sperm aspiration (TESA) is the simplest and most cost-effective way of sperm aspiration. TESA is performed under local anesthesia, with the help of a needle that is inserted in the testicle to aspirate the tissue/sperm. The procedure takes around 10 minutes and will be coordinated with the woman’s egg retrieval.
For individuals with nonobstructive azoospermia (which means there is a testicular problem); microTESE will be used for sperm harvesting. In cases where there is a testicular problem, it is hard to find sperm/tissue. The procedure takes several hours and is performed with the aid of a surgical microscope.
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