Azoospermia Leads To Infertility In Men; Know All about The Condition
Published in: Zee The Health Site
25th May 2021
Azoospermia is a medical condition in which a man’s semen contains no sperm. It is linked to infertility, although certain cases are treatable medically.
Having a baby is a simple and natural experience for couples. But it can be difficult for some couples to conceive a child. However, if there is an issue of infertility, the person automatically held responsible is the woman. What people fail to understand is that male infertility is a common issue that they ignore to talk about.
In fact, several men in India suffer from infertility and there are many reasons behind it. Male fertility generally depends on the quantity and quality of your sperm. Two of the main reasons is either number of sperm you ejaculate is low or the sperm are of a poor quality, which makes it impossible to get pregnant. Another reason could be azoospermia. Even though it is a rare condition, it is one of many causes that lead to infertility in men. Not many people are aware of the problem but being aware can help men get a proper diagnosis and early treatment. Here is everything you need to know about the disease, as explained by Dr Nandita Palshetkar, leading Gynaecologist & Infertility specialist.
What Is Azoospermia?
Have you been trying to get your partner pregnant but not able to? Azoospermia could be the reason. It is a medical condition that inhibits the production of sperm in men’s semen. It is a rare condition that affects about one percent of all men and fifteen percent of infertile men. There are no prominent signs to characterize the condition, but it could be one of the reasons for infertility.
Causes Of Azoospermia
This condition prevents the testicles from creating sperms, which interrupts the natural process of conceiving and causes infertility. Here are some of the common causes of azoospermia that you should know:
Pretesticular azoospermia: Your testicles are normal, but your body is unable to use them to produce sperm. It may happen after chemotherapy or as a result of low hormone levels. It is a rare condition that affects men’s fertility.
Testicular azoospermia occurs when the testicles are damaged, preventing them from spontaneously producing sperm. It could happen as a result of:
- Reproductive tract having an infection, like urethritis and epididymitis
- An illness in childhood like viral orchitis. It progresses to one or both testicles swelling
- Groin injury
- Cancer or cancer procedures, like radiation
- Genetic, like Klinefelter’s syndrome
Post-testicular azoospermia: The testicles produce sperm normally, but something prevents it from exiting, such as:
- Tubes that transport sperm from the testicles to the penis can become blocked. This is referred to as obstructive azoospermia.
- Retrograde ejaculation happens as sperm enters the bladder rather than exiting the penis
Statistics say that around forty per cent of men with azoospermia get the post-testicular form. Now that you understand what causes azoospermia, let us discuss the treatment choices.
Treatment Of Azoospermia
The treatment of the condition largely depends on the kind and cause of azoospermia. Your female partner’s fertility condition also determines the treatment options of the health condition. Some of the most common procedures to treat the medical condition include:
Microsurgical therapies can be used to clear blockages in certain forms of obstructive azoospermia. You may have surgery for a blocked vas or a varicocele. When surgery repairs obstructive azoospermia, you can try natural conception. Surgical operations would not solve the problem immediately. However, the doctor will do a sperm examination three to six months after surgery.
You will reproduce normally if your sperm levels are adequate, and your female partner does not have any fertility issues. However, if the sperm levels remain abnormal even after surgery, you should consider other options.
Sperm Extraction From Post-Ejaculate Urine
If you have retrograde ejaculation and are unable to cure it, the doctor will be able to extract sperm from post-ejaculate urine. Following that, depending on the amount of sperm available and any female fertility problems, you should try IVF or IUI Treatment.
Testicular Sperm Extraction With IVF And ICSI
Testicular sperm extraction, or TESE, may be used to obtain sperm cells directly from the testes. You will get general anaesthesia before the treatment. The doctor will make a minor incision inside the scrotum and remove testicular tissue. Your doctor will look for sperm cells in the tissue. You can cryopreserve them if you don’t want to use them right away.
If you have obstructive azoospermia – a condition that prevents your sperm cells from ejaculating – TESE is an option for you. Sperm cells extracted via TESE can be used in ICSI and IVF. As a result, you should seek this care at an IVF clinic. The sperm cells will be placed directly into an egg by your doctor. Following fertilisation, the embryo is implanted in the woman’s uterus.
Azoospermia is a common health issue that not only affects your infertility but may lead to other health issues. Men should not shy away from discussing the condition or feel embarrassed to talk about it. It is crucial to talk to your doctor for an early diagnosis and early fix. Consulting your specialist will also help you avoid the risk of other health diseases.
If you are aware of the conditions that can affect the chances of conceiving a child, it is best to get treatment as soon as possible. You and your wife can both be screened for fertility issues at the same time. With the technology and therapies available today, azoospermia is a treatable disease. See the fertility specialist if you suspect you have azoospermia. They will help you understand the situation and have a healthier pregnancy.
(with inputs from Dr Nandita Palshetkar, leading Gynaecologist & Infertility specialist, Lilavati Hospital, Mumbai, D Y Patil Hospital, Navi Mumbai and Fortis Hospitals New Delhi, Gurugram & Chandigarh)