What Is Azoospermia? What Are the Treatment Options?Dr Maheshwari
Azoospermia is the complete absence of any sperm in a man’s semen. It is found in 1-2% infertile male population.
Typically, a male’s testicles produce sperm mixed with fluid produced by other parts of his reproductive system to become semen. If a man has azoospermia, he may still produce normal semen, but it will not contain any sperm required for reproduction.
Causes of Azoospermia: -
There are two causes of azoospermia:
1. Obstructive Azoospermia is a condition where sperms are still produced in the testicles, but a blockage in the genital tract prevents sperm delivery into the ejaculate. This condition affects 7-50% of azoospermia cases. Obstructive azoospermia can be caused due to infections, injuries, prior surgeries, or genetic causes.
2. Non-Obstructive Azoospermia: There is no or inadequate sperm production in the testicles. Few potential causes of non-obstructive azoospermia include: -– genetic mutations– Y-chromosome deletions– radiation (including cancer treatment)– use of certain medications, illegal drugs or excessive alcohol consumption– hormonal imbalances– varicoceles (enlarged veins)
Diagnosis and Treatment options: -
Azoospermia is diagnosed when no sperm can be detected under a high-powered microscope on two separate occasions. Since the cause of azoospermia can be varied, there will be different treatment options, depending on the grounds. A scrotal scan along with several tests will be run to determine if there is any sperm cell production; if there is, the sperm may be extracted for IVF.
• Obstructive azoospermia may be treated with surgery to remove the blockage, or else sperms are retrieved using surgical techniques and assisted reproductive technology to conceive.
• Cancer patients can opt for semen freezing before they undergo radiation or chemotherapy.
• In the cases where lifestyle factor is an issue, such as medication usage or hormone imbalances, treatment can be as simple as switching medications or addressing hormone problems. Varicoceles can be treated using a low-risk surgery called varicocelectomy.
• For men with genetic causes of azoospermia, treatment may be limited to non-existent, depending on the type of gene defect. In such cases, sperm donation may be the most viable option for couples who wish to conceive.
If you are struggling with male infertility, talk to a fertility specialist or a urologist. Fortunately, suppose you’re trying to conceive. In that case, azoospermia isn’t the end of the world. Many treatment options are available for men with this condition to become biological fathers, so it certainly doesn’t mean there’s no hope.