Aevitas Fertility Clinic is a pioneer in the field of male infertility in Cape Town, South Africa and internationally. Research in the field of male infertility is a big focus point for the Aevitas team as there are many unanswered questions and male infertility is often overlooked, even though infertility affects both men and women equally. Aevitas team’s biggest scientific contribution to male infertility has been in the field of sperm morphology (shape) which causes male infertility. The criteria created by this research is now used worldwide and recognised by the World Health Organisation (WHO) as an international standard.
Signs & symptoms of male infertility
The main and sometimes only sign of male infertility is the inability to conceive a child. In other cases, an underlying problem such as, an inherited hormonal imbalance or a condition that blocks the passage of sperm, may cause signs and symptoms. Signs & symptoms associated with male infertility, may include:
- Problems with sexual function — for example, difficulty reaching orgasm (delayed ejaculation), premature ejaculation, or difficulty maintaining an erection (erectile dysfunction).
- Pain, swelling or a lump in the testicle area.
- Decreased facial or body hair or other signs of a chromosomal or hormonal abnormality.
Semen analysis, also known as ‘the sperm count test’, can be used to assess the health of male sperm. Furthermore, it can assess whether low sperm count or sperm dysfunction is the reason behind male infertility.
Semen analysis explained
Semen analysis involves the examination of the semen ejaculate of the male partner and the different sperm parameters within:
- Motility – percentage of sperm that are moving. Normal: more than 30%.
- Forward progression – speed at which the sperm are moving forward. Normal: more than “2”.
- Concentration – number of sperm per milliliter of semen. Normal: more than 15 million per milliliter.
- Normal morphology – the percentage of sperm cells with normal forms. Normal: more than 4%.
- Anti-sperm antibodies (“MAR”) – factors that bind to sperm resulting in the agglutination (sperm-sperm binding) and immobilisation of sperm. Normal: less than 60%.
- Presence of infection – indicated by white blood cells or a positive pathogen culture.
A fertility diagnosis is made by comparing the values obtained for the male partner’s sperm, with standard fertility values. A small percentage of men may have no sperm in their ejaculate and this is called Azoospermia.
Azoospermia is often referred to as ‘no sperm count‘.
Treatment for Azoospermia
A Testis biopsy can be performed for both diagnostic purposes, to evaluate sperm production, as well as for treatment purposes. Testicular Sperm Aspiration (TESA) is used to obtain sperm directly from the testis where it is produced. The obtained sperm can then be used for Intracytoplasmic Sperm Injection (ICSI), in conjunction with IVF. The procedure involves injecting a single sperm into an egg using microscopic instruments. Within a couple of days, embryos are selected and can be transferred back into the female’s uterus in hopes of achieving pregnancy.
The Aevitas team is also a proud leader in the field of male infertility in South Africa, as they are responsible for the 1st successful pregnancy and birth in South Africa and Africa resulting from the treatment of TESA and ICSI, in conjuction with IVF in 1995.