How Can IVF Help with Male Factor Infertility?
Individuals who are unable to conceive after a year or more of trying should schedule a fertility evaluation to determine if fertility factors are interfering with conception. Couples may experience female-factor infertility, male-factor infertility, or a combination of both.
In vitro fertilization (IVF) is one of the most versatile and effective fertility treatments. IVF assists throughout the stages of conception to increase the chance of a successful pregnancy. Here, the fertility doctors at the Los Angeles Reproductive Center, which serves Encino, Bakersfield, and Los Angeles, CA, discuss how IVF can help with male factor infertility to give patients the baby they dream about.
What Is Male Factor Infertility?
Among the millions of couples who experience infertility, it is estimated that at least 50 percent involve a male infertility issue. Male factor infertility refers to sperm abnormalities that interfere with conception. Several factors can affect male fertility, including abnormal sperm production, low sperm production, a blockage of sperm delivery, and poor sperm motility (movement).
What Is IVF?
IVF is often the most effective treatment for couples experiencing male factor infertility or a combination of male and female infertility. IVF is an assisted reproductive technology that oversees all stages of conception. Treatment involves ovarian stimulation to encourage egg production, egg retrieval, fertilization of collected eggs, and implantation of mature embryos. IVF uses eggs and sperm from the intended parents or donors.
IVF for Poor Sperm Motility
Poor sperm motility is a common source of male factor infertility. IVF tends to be an effective treatment for male factor infertility linked to poor sperm motility. During IVF, sperm are placed in a petri dish with retrieved eggs. The sperm does not have to travel far to fertilize the egg because they are in such close proximity. Similarly, sperm cannot get “lost” or blocked on the way to the egg, as may be the case when there are male or female blockages. For these reasons, IVF significantly increases the likelihood of pregnancy for men with poor sperm motility.
IVF for Low Sperm Count
Another common cause of male factor infertility is low sperm count. Many men believe that they are poor candidates for IVF if they have a low sperm count. However, IVF can successfully address this cause of infertility. Since sperm are placed so near the egg, there doesn’t need to be a high number of sperm for IVF to be a success. In cases of advanced male-factor infertility, IVF fertilization can be performed via intracytoplasmic sperm injection (ICSI). Doctors select one sperm for ICSI and inject it directly into the egg.
IVF With a Sperm Donor
In cases of severe male-factor infertility, IVF with the intended father’s sperm may not be successful. If a patient’s sperm is not viable or if they have undergone previous rounds of IVF unsuccessfully, our doctors may recommend IVF with a sperm donor. Sperm can be collected from a known donor or one selected through a sperm bank.
IVF is one of the many fertility services offered at the Los Angeles Reproductive Center. If you are interested in learning more about our fertility treatments and which may be best suited to your unique needs, contact our practice at your earliest convenience.