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If you and your partner dream of having a baby but are struggling to fall pregnant, there can be all sorts of reasons why. However, for around of third of couples struggling to have a baby, a low sperm count or poor sperm quality is a factor.
Having a low sperm count bears no reflection on how ‘masculine’ you are; it can be caused by all sorts of things, including certain medical conditions, your lifestyle and simple differences in genetics. A low sperm count doesn’t have to be a barrier to becoming pregnant either, so you may be able to conceive naturally if you simply keep on trying; many couples find it takes more than 12 months before they’re successful.
It’s not unusual for the vas deferens – the tubes that carry the sperm from your testicles – to be absent or blocked. These are also the tubes that are cut when you have a vasectomy. In these cases, medical treatment is available to help you conceive.
What are my options?
First: keep trying! Having sex every 2-3 days, getting in shape, moderating your alcohol consumption and giving up smoking will all help. If, however, you’re two years down the line and still not expecting, you may be wondering if something is afoot. Diagnosing the problem is step one.
Sperm tests can be conducted to identify your sperm count and the mobility of your sperm. If your sperm test shows you have no sperm at all, an open testicular biopsy can help to diagnose the cause.
If it turns out your vans deferens is blocked for some reason, you’ve been born without them, or you’ve previously had a vasectomy, sperm can be retrieved for use in fertility treatment. Sperm are stored in the epididymis of each testicle, and two different ‘micro-surgeries’ can be employed to retrieve them.
Percutaneous epididymal sperm aspiration (PESA) is carried out under local anaesthetic and uses a fine needle to recover sperm. Micro epididymal sperm aspiration (MESA) is similar but carried out under general anaesthetic, and involves making a small incision. If viable sperm can be recovered, IVF treatment is your next step.
If you’ve had a vasectomy, it’s also possible to have a vasectomy reversal. It’s a straightforward operation that usually requires just a single cut on your scrotum and takes around two hours.
As with any surgery, you might feel a little discomfort for a few days after any of these procedures, but mild painkillers will usually be enough to make you comfortable.
If you’ve exhausted all other avenues and you’re still determined to have a baby, you may want to explore using donor sperm.
To find out more call us on 0808 101 0337
or make an online enquiry.