Male Infertility


Male factor or the sperm quality accounts for over 40% of infertility. The semen analysis is a test used to evaluate certain parameters of the sperm including concentration, motility and shape or morphology. Unfortunately the semen analysis is not a good enough test to determine if the sperm can actually fertilize an egg. There may be a part of the semen evaluation that is not ideal. Having one value that is abnormal may not be enough information to implicate the sperm as the cause of the couple’s infertility.

The best measure of sperm quality is a history of the sperm fertilizing an egg in the past on one or more occasion. If the male partner has caused pregnancy in the past there is a strong possibility that the infertility for that particular couple is not the result of poor sperm quality.

Men with normal or slightly less than normal sperm parameters may be good candidates for doing intrauterine insemination with their partners. This is where the male partner collects a sperm sample, which is then prepared for intrauterine insemination (IUI) for the female partner.

When the sperm parameters show very low numbers or poor movement, the couple may need IVF with intracytoplasmic sperm injection (ICSI). This has allowed some men to have children that would have never been able to conceive naturally.

Sometimes the tube from the testicle to the penis is either blocked or not present. Many of these men have normal sperm production, but the sperm can’t exit with the ejaculate. A simple surgical procedure done with a urologist at NOVA IVF can extract the sperm either from the epididymis (sperm holding tank) or directly from the testicle.


With the use of these procedures at NOVA IVF, most male factor infertility can be completely overcome.


ICSI is an acronym for IntraCytoplasmic Sperm Injection. The sperm is directly placed into the cytoplasm of the egg. This has allowed men with very little sperm to have a child. Prior to the use of this procedure these men would have been unable to conceive a child.

It is recommended that men who have extremely low sperm counts have genetic testing done because they have a higher chance of having some genetically inherited conditions. The testing shown below would be considered important for men who have consistently low sperm counts on every evaluation.

  • Cystic Fibrosis
  • Y microdeletion
  • Karyotype

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