Male infertility is the inability to conceive a child. Generally, the couple should seek the help of an infertility specialist (for the woman) and a urologist (for the male). For the male, this problem can be a result of a myriad of causes. Examples are low sperm count, abnormal sperm, abnormalities in the tube through which the sperm travel within the male reproductive system, health problems, rigorous exercise, or certain types of lifestyles. The urologist will obtain an in-depth medical and social history, perform a thorough physical exam, and interview the patient thoroughly before initiating testing for various types of problems. One of the easiest and earliest tests run is a semen analysis. This test checks sperm count, motility, sperm shape, and characteristics of the liquid semen which contains the sperm.
Treatment depends totally on the cause of the infertility. For some patients, simple dietary supplements can correct some problems related to the sperm. Sometimes, a surgical repair of blockages within the vas deferens can correct the problem. Varicoceles are varicose veins within the scrotum and can cause male infertility, and a surgical repair is done through an incision in the abdomen. This surgery is done on an outpatient basis using either local anesthetic (blocking sensation to the area of the surgery) or general anesthetic (inducing loss of consciousness).
There is a nonsurgical procedure called percutaneous embolization which can be done to repair the varicocele. The procedure includes inserting a catheter into the internal spermatic vein and occluding the vein.