If you and your partner are finding it difficult to get pregnant, it may be a good idea to visit your local fertility clinic for a physical workup. Here, your reproductive endocrinologist will analyze both male and female factors in order to find out exactly what is going on with your fertility.
Sometimes, male factor infertility can play a large role in pregnancy difficulties. Azoospermia can cause serious problems with sperm production and transfer, preventing a man’s sperm from entering his ejaculate. This can make pregnancy very difficult, if not impossible. However, new techniques are now being performed to help men with azoospermia father biological children.
What is Azoospermia?
Azoospermia is one of the most severe forms of male factor infertility. It is a condition in which a man has no sperm in his ejaculate. In order to transport sperm outside of the body, it mixes with ejaculate (semen) at certain places throughout the male reproductive system.
Sometimes, due to blockages or sperm production problems, sperm does not mix with ejaculate, and therefore cannot leave the body. This is why so many men with azoospermia find it difficult to have children.
There are actually two types of azoospermia:
- Obstructive Azoospermia: Obstructive azoospermia accounts for 40% of all cases of azoospermia. It occurs when a blockage in your duct system prevents your sperm from mixing with your semen. These obstructions may be present in your vas deferens or epididymis.
- Non-Obstructive Azoospermia: Non-obstructive azoospermia accounts for 60% of all cases of azoospermia. It occurs when there is a problem with the actual production of sperm within your body. It is often the result of hormonal imbalances.
How Common is Azoospermia?
Azoospermia affects only about 2% of the general male population; however, it does account for a large percentage of those men actively seeking fertility treatments. It is thought that between 10% and 20% of men undergoing fertility treatments suffer from azoospermia. Most of these men have little or no sperm present in their ejaculate.
Symptoms of Azoospermia
Unfortunately, it is very difficult to recognize azoospermia without undergoing fertility testing. This is because there are no symptoms that occur along with the condition. You will likely have semen of a normal color and texture, and will encounter few difficulties with ejaculation. Only a sperm count can diagnose the condition.