Male infertility can put a huge strain on a relationship, but it’s important not to panic since there may still be a chance you and your partner can get pregnant. Characterized by an absence of sperm in the semen, azoospermia is one of the possible causes of male infertility and could be the culprit behind your pregnancy difficulties.
In light of this fact, this simple guide is designed to teach you everything you need to know about the condition, including the different causes and potential steps you might be able to take to overcome the problem and successfully get your partner pregnant.
An Introduction to Azoospermia: Understanding the Different Types
Having no sperm in the seminal fluid is a condition that only affects approximately one percent of all men. However, statistics also show that this condition is the primary culprit in approximately 15 percent of all male infertility cases, which means it’s something that your doctor will definitely check for if you and your partner are having problems getting pregnant. After checking your semen sample and determining that no sperm is present, the next step is to determine the type and specific cause of your condition.
The condition is generally split into three separate types: pre-testicular, testicular, and post-testicular.
Pre- Testicular Form
The pre-testicular form of the condition is the rarest and it occurs as a result of the body’s inability to get the testes to produce semen. In this case, the testes are perfectly normal, but for some reason the body cannot get them to function properly. Possible causes of this could be low hormone levels, genetic abnormalities or various other medical conditions.
The testicular type obviously refers to issues that originate in or around the testes themselves. Varicose veins around the testicles, testicular cancer and damage to the area can all lead to an inability of the testicles to produce semen. Hypospermatogenesis is another possible cause, which essentially means that you have an extremely low sperm count caused by the testes’ production of far lower numbers than average.
Termed either obstructive or post-testicular, the third form of this condition occurs when the testes produce a normal amount of sperm, but the sperm is unable to make it into the ejaculate for some reason. In some cases, there can be an actual obstruction, which could be a result of various infections or possibly complications from a previous surgery.
Other men suffer from this condition as a result of a congenital defect, such as the lack of the vas deferens or the presence of a cyst in the prostate gland. Men who have had a vasectomy are also classified under this type of the condition since this procedure involves surgically removing part of the vas deferens to prevent sperm from mixing with the seminal fluid.
Can You Still Get Your Partner Pregnant?
Depending on the type and cause of your condition, there is definitely still a chance that you and your partner can get pregnant either through natural means or in-vitro fertilization (IVF). While this is not true in all cases, an experienced urologist should be able to determine the specific cause of the condition around 90 percent of the time and understanding the cause is the first step in determining what you may be able to do about it.
Diagnosing the condition usually involves a full physical and a thorough conversation with your urologist. In addition, your doctor will perform various blood tests. These tests are useful in checking your hormone levels and may also help to identify any potential genetic conditions that could be the cause.
In some cases where the condition is caused by low testosterone or low brain hormone levels, certain medications may help stimulate the testes to produce more sperm. As a result, you may either have enough sperm in the ejaculate to get pregnant naturally or at least enough sperm in the testes for a successful sperm removal that can then be used for IVF.
Sperm removal is also the preferred option in cases of an obstruction or blockage. In this case, the fact that your testes are still producing ample amounts of viable sperm means that the chances of a successful retrieval are usually close to 100 percent. Moreover, sperm retrieval can sometimes even be used in cases where a man suffers from problems with sperm production for any number of reasons. However, it is important to note that the chances of retrieving viable sperm in these cases are typically around 50-50. Still, the fact that there is usually some chance means that it is something well worth discussing with your urologist.
Take the Time to Talk To Your Doctor
Although learning the cause of your male infertility can be incredibly frightening, it is vital that you discuss all available options with your urologist. Not all cases are curable, but your diagnosis definitely doesn’t mean you and your partner can’t ever have kids. Thanks to modern medicine and advancements such as sperm retrieval and in-vitro fertilization, there is still a chance that your condition doesn’t have to prevent you from achieving your dream of becoming a parent.