Coping With Male-Factor Infertility

Couples trying to conceive may face a significant infertility hurdle. Sometimes, the issue is not with the woman but rather the man. Male-factor infertility can be emotionally devastating for both partners. However, there is hope through advancements in reproductive medicine and various family-building options. The first step in addressing male infertility is understanding the causes and contributing factors. Male-factor infertility is often due to low sperm count, no sperm, or poor sperm function. This condition can arise from various factors, such as lifestyle choices, medical conditions, or genetic predispositions. In some cases, donor sperm is the best course of action to start or grow a family.


Donor sperm as an option

A full review of a man’s reproductive health is essential before an infertility diagnosis. Even then, there are a range of treatment options that can increase the chances of pregnancy. When such approaches fail, the medical team will suggest using donor sperm instead. Donor sperm is a practical solution for couples dealing with male-factor infertility, allowing the dream of parenthood to become a reality. People experiencing severe male-factor infertility, single individuals, or LGBTQ+ couples often turn to donor sperm for family building. This process uses a healthy sample from a sperm bank to create an embryo for use during fertility treatment.

The donor selection process

In many cases, donor sperm will come from a sperm bank. Other times, a family member can provide a sample. Selecting a donor is a crucial aspect of the journey. The use of donor sperm comes with legal and ethical considerations, including consent, parental rights, and donor anonymity, which must be addressed before proceeding. Finding a suitable sperm donor involves an intricate process of matching characteristics and values. Donors undergo rigorous medical screenings to ensure the sperm meets high-quality standards and is free from hereditary or infectious conditions.

Using donor sperm to build a family

Fertility patients can use donor sperm with intrauterine insemination (IUI) or in vitro fertilization (IVF) to attempt pregnancy. IUI involves placing donor sperm directly into the recipient's uterus, significantly increasing fertilization chances. The medical team may also provide fertility medication during IUI to increase the chances of conception. IVF with donor sperm, on the other hand, is a more advanced option that can help couples dealing with complex infertility issues achieve successful pregnancies. Donor sperm is combined with retrieved eggs to create embryos. The best embryo is then transferred to the woman’s uterus, completing an IVF cycle.

Surrogacy and beyond

Even with donor sperm, some men or couples need additional support for family building. In this scenario, a gestational surrogate can help further. This surrogate carries the embryo created with the donor sperm on the patient’s behalf. IVF and surrogacy, while effective, can be out of reach for some due to cost or other constraints. Some couples may consider adoption to grow a family. Adoption can make a positive difference in a child's life and form an unbreakable bond based on care and empathy, surpassing biological ties. Furthermore, adoption is a beautiful and fulfilling journey that can bring immense joy and fulfillment to both the child and the adoptive parents.

The path to parenthood

Male-factor infertility is a challenging issue that affects many couples. Men eager to start or grow a family can feel hopeless. However, navigating male-factor infertility is possible through knowledge, support, and determination. There are various paths to parenthood, which should all be respected and understood. Despite the difficulties, the pursuit of parenthood is driven by hope and resilience, motivating individuals and couples to persevere.