Jefferson University Hospitals

Male Factor Infertility

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Infertility affects women and men equally. Common causes of male infertility include hormonal or genetic abnormalities that interfere with sperm production, varicoceles (swollen testicular veins), absence or blockage of the vas deferens (which carry sperm from the testes to penis) and problems with ejaculation. Often, there is no identifiable cause of abnormal sperm production, motility or shape. In many cases, excellent fertility outcomes can be provided for men with sperm problems.

If your partner would like to determine his fertility potential, our fertility specialists will evaluate the cause and determine the best treatment options.

Jefferson urologists also have experience in treating male factor infertility by working to reverse low sperm count.

How is Male Factor Infertility Evaluated?

Male factor infertility is first assessed by a semen analysis, which measures the volume of ejaculate, the concentration of sperm, the percentage of actively moving sperm and the percentage of normally shaped sperm.

A normal semen analysis – defined by the World Health Organization (WHO) – is a volume of greater than 2 cc (this is less than ½ teaspoon), a sperm count greater than 20 million per cc with at least 50 percent motility and 30 percent perfectly shaped sperm.

How is Male Factor Infertility Treated?

Intrauterine Insemination (IUI)

If the semen analysis is abnormal, our doctors may tailor your treatment plan to improve fertility potential. Most men with mild to moderate decreases in sperm can establish pregnancies through treatments that include intrauterine inseminations (IUIs).

To perform IUIs, the semen is first washed with special media and the sperm is concentrated. Next, a very thin, flexible catheter with the prepared sample is placed through the woman's cervix into her uterus. This very brief, painless procedure places all of the motile sperm in the uterus, close to the entrances to the fallopian tubes, where fertilization will take place.

In Vitro Fertilization (IVF) with Intracytoplasmic Sperm Injection (ICSI)

In vitro fertilization with intracytoplasmic sperm injection is used in cases of very low sperm count, low sperm motility or poor sperm morphology (shape). Intracytoplasmic sperm injection is a procedure in which an embryologist injects each mature egg (retrieved from the ovaries during an IVF treatment) with an individual sperm with a view to ensuring maximal fertilization of the eggs.

Donor Sperm

When there is complete absence of sperm in the ejaculate (called azoospermia), either due to anatomic blockage or to severely reduced sperm production by the testicles, a simple surgical procedure may sometimes be used to retrieve sperm to be used in IVF.

In cases where sperm cannot be obtained in the ejaculate or after surgical aspiration, donor sperm can be the source of sperm to produce a pregnancy.

Learn More About Using Donor Sperm to Achieve Pregnancy >

See Our Exceptional Pregnancy Success Rates with IVF >

Why Choose Jefferson for Male Factor Infertility Treatment?

Our fertility specialists can provide a complete evaluation of males affected with infertility. When necessary, we work in conjunction with urologists to provide a full spectrum of treatment options to men with infertility. We can provide tailored and effective treatments for most men dealing with infertility.

Schedule an Appointment with a Fertility Expert

To schedule an appointment with a urologist, please call 1-800-JEFF-NOW (1-800-533-3669) or use the online appointment form.

To schedule an appointment with one of our fertility specialists, please call 215-922-1556. Flexible financing options, a refund guarantee program, military and first-responder discounts, and financial aid programs each aim to make our world-class care as widely available as possible. To reach out to a financial counselor, please e-mail