Getting pregnant is not always easy. According to the latest studies, 1 in 8 couples suffer from fertility problems.
It is common to think that infertility mainly concerns women, but the reality is different: male fertility is just as important as female fertility when it comes to trying to get pregnant. In fact, 33% of infertility cases are due to male problems.
How to identify Male Infertility
Like women, most men find out that they are infertile when it is time to try to get pregnant. This is because male infertility does not cause symptoms that are easily noticed. However, there may be some signs that can indicate that something is not going right:
At IVF-Life, we recommend seeing a specialist doctor if the baby does not come after 1 year of sexual intercourse.
Analysis and tests to detect it
If any of these symptoms are identified during the search for pregnancy, the man should be tested for male infertility.
The diagnosis of male infertility is intended to find the obstacle that is preventing pregnancy from occurring. The idea is to establish the cause of infertility as precisely as possible, so that an appropriate and effective treatment can be indicated. In this way, diagnostic tests evaluate the parameters that must be in order for fertilisation to occur.
We first take into account the patient’s medical history. This will reflect medical history, but also lifestyle-related habits that may affect a man’s fertility (such as tobacco and alcohol consumption, drugs or some medications).
It is important to check that the cause of infertility is not related to an anatomical problem (affecting the testicles or preventing ejaculation). For this purpose, it is possible to carry out superficial examinations or testicular ultrasound scans.
Seminogram and advanced semen analysis
Analysing semen is indispensable for the assessment of a man’s fertility. A conventional semen analysis (or spermiogram) includes the determination of the concentration, motility and morphology of the spermatozoa in the sample. These parameters make it possible to assess the quality of the semen and identify what is going wrong.
However, certain factors that influence sperm quality are not reflected in the conventional semen analysis. The IVF-Life laboratories therefore offer all their patients the advanced semen analysis. It is a more detailed analysis that includes a series of tests to evaluate sperm quality at microscopic levels.
Hormonal analysis is mainly performed when the results of the semen analysis reveal altered parameters. Sperm production is carried out by the action of sex hormones. Therefore, imbalanced hormones may be responsible for poor sperm quality.
Assisted Reproduction Techniques for Sperm Selection
Assisted reproduction treatments are not only a possible solution to a female fertility problem, but are also necessary in cases of male infertility.
In addition to the most common assisted reproduction treatments, such as artificial insemination (AI) or in vitro fertilisation (IVF or ICSI), IVF-Life clinics have the most advanced technology to offer the most effective treatments. These treatments are based on sperm selection, so that the sperm used are those with the highest quality and potential.
Physiological ICSI (PICSI)
The PICSI technique (or physiological ICSI) derives from the conventional ICSI technique. However, it is a more efficient technique as it is accompanied by sperm selection prior to microinjection. This improves the quality of the blastocysts obtained.
The selection of the spermatozoa is done thanks to their interaction with hyaluronic acid, a molecule naturally present in large quantities in the cells surrounding the oocyte. The idea is that the mature, and therefore competent, spermatozoa bind to the hyaluronic acid that the embryologist places at the base of a plate.
“This union, spermatozoa-hyaluronic acid, occurs in the natural process of fertilisation between the sperm and the oocyte. Consequently, the selected spermatozoon is essentially the same as the one that would be successful in fertilisation in the natural reproductive process,”
explains Llanos Medrano, embryologist at IVF-Life Alicante.
It is a method that allows the elimination of dead or non-viable spermatozoa, preserving those that are healthy. This is carried out thanks to a columnar selection system.
This technique allows sperm selection based on sperm motility. It consists of a circuit with two orifices or chambers connected by a very narrow channel (microfluidic). The procedure consists of placing the semen sample in the entrance orifice; the spermatozoa will swim through the channel and those that reach the exit chamber will be used for microinjection.
Would you like to know more?
Should you be interested in having a fertility test or have any doubts about the treatments that are best suited for you, please contact one of our professionals.