Azoospermia occurs when sperm is not present in a man’s semen
Approximately 1% of men – and 15% of men struggling with infertility – have a condition called azoospermia. Men who have this rare condition do not have sperm in their semen. Our Austin male fertility experts want men to know that the condition doesn’t cause any noticeable symptoms. Most men learn that they have the condition after visiting a fertility specialist or urologist to help their partner conceive.
What causes azoospermia?
Azoospermia can be caused by a problem that prevents your testicles from making sperm or one that prevents the sperm from leaving your body. Our Austin male fertility experts break the condition into three main types.
- Pretesticular azoospermia occurs when your testicles are normal, but they don’t make sperm. It occurs due to low hormone levels or as a side effect of chemotherapy.
- Testicular azoospermia means that damage to your testicles keeps them from making sperm. Some causes include infection in the reproductive tract, a groin injury, certain childhood illnesses and genetic conditions such as Klinefelter syndrome.
- Post-testicular azoospermia refers to when your testicles make normal sperm, but something keeps them from leaving the body. A blockage in the tubes that carry the sperm from your testicle to your penis and retrograde ejaculation are some examples.
Our Austin male fertility experts will begin the diagnostic process with a semen analysis. Our andrologists will examine your sample. If they do not find sperm in your semen on two separate occasions, you have azoospermia.
The next step is figuring out the cause of the condition. If our physicians cannot determine the cause by reviewing your medical history, they will likely refer you to a local urologist for specialized testing.
Many options are available to help men with no sperm to become fathers.
The treatment your physician recommends will depend on the cause of your azoospermia. If your azoospermia is caused by an obstruction, an experienced urologist can remove it. The more recent your blockage, the more likely that surgery will successfully treat it. For example, if you’ve had a blockage for less than three years, the chance of restoring your sperm flow is 97%.
Other options for men who have azoospermia without a blockage include microsurgical epididymal sperm aspiration (MESA) and testicular epididymal sperm extraction (TESE).
During these procedures, our Austin male fertility experts obtain sperm by making an incision in the scrotum and aspirating fluid from the tubules that come off the testicles or directly from the testicles. The sperm that your physician obtains from these procedures can be used with in vitro fertilization (IVF) and intracytoplasmic sperm injection (ICSI) to achieve pregnancy.
If your physician cannot obtain sperm from these procedures, donor sperm provides another way to welcome a baby into your life.
Contact us to schedule an appointment and learn more about diagnosing and treating azoospermia.
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Chizhong Wang*, Ji-won Choi*, Leonardo F. Urbanoy†, Puneet Massonz‡, Matthew VerMilyea§, and Moshe Kam*; Tracking of Human Sperm in Time-Lapse Images. *Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering, New Jersey Institute of Technology, Newark, NJ, USA, †70 Beharrel St., Concord, MA, USA, ‡Penn Fertility Care, Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, PA, USA, §Ovation Fertility, Austin, TX, USA.