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Health A-Z

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Harvard Medical School

Treatment

Treatment for male infertility depends on the cause. If a specific reason for infertility is discovered, it sometimes is possible to treat. A variety of treatment options are available and include hormonal therapy, surgery to correct blocked tubes, and treatment of infections or underlying medical conditions.

In some men, no specific cause for infertility can be found, or no treatment options are available to correct the underlying problem. Men who fit this description can now be offered what are known as assisted-reproduction techniques. Some of these techniques are simple, and some are complicated and costly. Which assisted-reproduction technique is used depends on the reasons for infertility and whether the female partner has fertility problems as well:

  • In intrauterine insemination, the simplest technique, a semen sample is collected and then treated in a laboratory to improve the likelihood that the sperm can produce a pregnancy. The sperm is then injected into the female partner's uterus when she is ovulating. This may or may not be accompanied by hormonal treatment of the female partner.

  • In in vitro fertilization, eggs are removed surgically from the female partner, combined with sperm in the laboratory, and then surgically replaced in the uterus.

  • In intra-cytoplasmic sperm injection, individual sperm are harvested from the testicles and injected into single eggs. Even men with very abnormal sperm production can have success with this technique.

Infertile couples also may wish to explore other options for having children, including artificial insemination with a donor's semen or adoption.

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From Health A-Z, Harvard Health Publications. Copyright 2007 by the President and Fellows of Harvard College. All rights reserved. Written permission is required to reproduce, in any manner, in whole or in part, the material contained herein. To make a reprint request, contact Harvard Health Publications. Used with permission of StayWell.

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