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Thanks to the miracles of modern science, many men who would have been unable to father a child can now do so. Whether male infertility problems are physical or sexual in nature, there are options that can help men achieve their dream of fatherhood.
In older days, fertility problems were always laid at the feet of women. Advances in medicine have shown that fertility problems are just as likely to be caused by male fertility issues. In about 1/3 of infertility cases, a problem can be found within the female reproductive system, while male fertility problems are responsible for another 1/3 of diagnosed infertility. As for the other 1/3 of infertility cases, doctors simply cannot find a cause as to why a couple cannot conceive.

The treatment of male infertility is aimed at identifying the cause and attempting to remedy it. There are several treatment options for male fertility problems, depending on the reason for inability to conceive.

Treatment for Physical Problems


As mentioned previously, men with abnormal levels of hormones can be given medications to normalize these levels. Testosterone may improve sex drive.

Psychological therapy

Many sexual problems have a basis in psychological dysfunction. Men who are impotent or who suffer from premature ejaculation may wish to attend counseling sessions. Anxiety, fear and guilt are all potent emotions that can have a negative effect on sexual function and may, in turn, affect a male’s ability to successfully impregnate his partner. Sometimes couples counseling can be of benefit, teaching couples how to communicate more effectively and reducing negative feelings that may lead to sexual dysfunction.

Treatment of medical conditions

Men who are suffering from a physical illness may be temporarily unable to impregnate their partners due to low sperm count or the physical effects of their illness. Ability to get their partner pregnant may be restored when the physical illness or condition has been properly treated. For this reason, a thorough physical exam is often recommended as the first step in evaluating fertility problems.

Assisted Reproduction Options

There are several assisted reproduction options available that can be tried when men have low or absent sperm counts:

Intrauterine Insemination

In IUI, male sperm are selected and prepared. They are then injected through the cervix and into the uterus when the female is ovulating. Often, drugs are used to stimulate the woman’s ovaries to produce multiple follicles in order to increase the chance of successful fertilization. The success rate of IUI is approximately 8% per cycle. The advantages of IUI are that it is relatively inexpensive and it allows for selection of the highest concentration of motile sperm.

Intracytoplasmic Insemination (ICSI)

This procedure may be used for men who have very low sperm counts. ICSI is a type of in vitro fertilization. In this procedure, one sperm is directly injected into one egg. For men who appear to have no sperm upon sperm analysis, sperm may be retrieved under anesthetic during a testicular biopsy. IVF is very expensive, but success rates may be as high as 20% per cycle. The whole procedure, however, can be physically difficult for the woman.

Donor Insemination (DI) 

For men who have no sperm whatsoever, the use of donor sperm may be the only option. In donor insemination, donors are carefully screened for disease. It is possible to choose a sperm donor who shares the male’s physical characteristics, such as eye and hair color. Men do not find the decision to use donor sperm an easy one to make; the only other available options when the male has no sperm are to adopt or remain childless. For men who wish to experience pregnancy and childbirth with their partner, donor insemination can be a good option, as opposed to adoption which may be very expensive and can take years.

Thanks to the miracles of modern science, many men who would have been unable to father a child in the past can now do so. Whether male infertility problems are physical or sexual in nature, there are many medications, therapies and assisted reproduction techniques, such as IUI and intracytoplasmic insemination, that can help men achieve their dream of fatherhood.

  • Stanley J. Swierzewski, III, M.D. (13 Sep 2010). Male Infertility Treatment. Urology Channel
  • Patient's Fact Sheet: Diagnostic Testing for Male Factor Infertility. American Society of Reproductive Medicine.