Low Sperm Count (Azospermia)

Azoospermia is a cause of male infertility in which there are no sperm observed in the ejaculated semen.   More than half of azoospermic men make sperm in the testis that are either blocked from entering the semen (obstructive azoospermia) or are too few in number to appear in the semen (non-obstructive azoospermia).  Men who have had a vasectomy will also have no or very few sperm present in their ejaculate (obstructive azoospermia).  If any of these conditions exists, a consultation with a Urologist is necessary.  RMSCVA is unique among fertility clinics in our close association with the male fertility specialists in the Urology Department at the University of Virginia.  Working closely with this group we have helped many couples with these conditions have children. 

When sperm are being produced in the testes, it is possible to establish pregnancy using several assisted reproductive methods.  A Urological Surgeon can perform a testicular biopsy, in which a piece of the testicular tissue is removed.  Alternatively, the Urological Surgeon can aspirate sperm from a structure adjacent to the testes called the epididymis.  The epididymis is a tightly coiled tube connecting the testicle to the ejaculatory duct.  Your Urologist will determine the best treatment option for you. 

When sperm are present in the testicular biopsy or aspirate, they may be frozen by our laboratory for subsequent attempts to fertilize the partner’s eggs using in vitro fertilization (IVF).  Because the sperm will be few in number, eggs must be fertilized by intractyoplasmic sperm injection (ICSI).  The health of children conceived with testicular or epididymal sperm not different from those conceived by other assisted reproductive techniques.  However, men with non-obstructive azoospermia may have a genetic cause for their very low sperm production that could be passed on to any male offspring.

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