Infertility affects approximately 15% of couples worldwide, representing 48.5 million couples. It has been established that dysfunction of the male reproductive sphere is the cause of childlessness in 20-30% of cases.
Infertility is associated with negative psychosocial outcomes for men. And over the years, this problem has become more and more common. Assisted reproductive technologies such as IVF and ICSI only help in 50% of cases. Therefore, today there is an active search for new more effective strategies for the treatment of infertility, and cell therapy is one of the most promising technologies in this area.
Types of male infertility
Doctors distinguish between two types of male infertility: primary and secondary. If a man has never had children, this is primary infertility. Secondary infertility is diagnosed when a man was previously fertile (he was able to conceive a child), but is no longer fertile. The most common cause of secondary infertility is varicocele, an enlargement of the veins of the scrotum.
Causes and signs of male infertility
The main causes of fertility disorders in men are:
- decrease in the number, decrease in mobility or violation of the morphology of spermatozoa;
- complete absence of spermatozoa (azoospermia);
- infection or inflammation of the testicles;
- undescended testicle or other birth defects of the reproductive system;
- ejaculation disorder;
- cancer treatment (chemo- or radiation therapy);
- genetic diseases and hormonal disorders.
Certain medications can lead to male infertility. These include chemotherapy drugs, anabolic steroids, and anti-inflammatory drugs used to treat diseases such as Crohn’s disease.
Factors that increase the likelihood of infertility in men include:
- alcohol abuse;
- drug use;
- sedentary lifestyle;
- high levels of stress;
As a rule, the most important (and sometimes the only) sign of male infertility is the inability to conceive. However, in some cases, other symptoms are present:
- problems with ejaculation or erection;
- decrease in sexual desire;
- pain, swelling in the testicles;
- hormonal disorders, which can be expressed in abnormal growth of the mammary glands (gynecomastia), hair loss on the face or body.
The presence of these signs, combined with the inability to conceive a child, means that a man needs to undergo a diagnostic examination. Call one of the listed phone numbers on the site or fill out the feedback form. The coordinating doctor of the MedTour company will consult you for free on any questions you may have and select the best clinic for diagnosing infertility.
Diagnostic methods for male infertility
The two main methods for assessing fertility in men are a blood test for hormones and a semen test, which determines the number, motility and morphology (shape and size) of spermatozoa. Also, the doctor may recommend an ultrasound to assess the condition of the reproductive organs. In some cases, to determine the causes of infertility, a testicular biopsy is performed (taking a small piece of tissue for subsequent histological analysis).
Treatment of male infertility
Standard treatments for fertility problems in men include:
- hormone therapy;
- surgery to eliminate a varicocele or obstruction of the urogenital tract;
- assisted reproductive technologies: intrauterine insemination, in vitro fertilization, intracytoplasmic sperm injection.
The choice of therapeutic tactics depends on the causes of male infertility.
The latest methods of treating male infertility with stem cells
Since assisted reproductive technologies lead to success in only half of the cases of infertility in men, the search for new methods of treatment has recently been carried out. Stem cell therapy is one of the most promising areas in this field.
There are various ways in which stem cells can be used to restore male fertility. The most effective ones are described below.
Transplantation of spermatogonial cells
Spermatogenesis is the process of formation of mature spermatozoa from spermatogonial cells (stem cells). It occurs continuously throughout the reproductive life. During each ejaculation, a man produces millions of spermatozoa. Violation of spermatogenesis is one of the main causes of male infertility.
Since spermatogenesis is considered to be a stem cell-based mechanism, cell therapy is one of the treatments for male infertility. Stem cells can self-renew, regenerate tissues, and differentiate into other cell types. During treatment, the doctor takes spermatogonial cells by biopsy. Then the cells are cultured and propagated in the laboratory, after which the testicles are injected, where the consequences of the spermatogonial cells form mature spermatozoa. This technique brings hope to men who are undergoing cancer treatment or suffering from infertility caused by impaired spermatogenesis.
Mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) transplantation
The use of MSCs in the treatment of male infertility is based on their ability to stimulate the regeneration of damaged testicular tissue and improve the function of sperm formation. These cells are easily obtained from the patient’s own tissues. They are present in bone marrow, adipose tissue, and peripheral blood.
MSCs are administered in two ways: intravenously or into the testicles. The treatment promotes the regeneration of damaged cells of the reproductive system, improves microcirculation and restores speratogenase. MSCs also have anti-inflammatory and immunomodulatory properties, making it possible to cope with the main causes of impaired fertility in men.
New treatments for azoospermia
Azoospermia is a condition in which there are no spermatozoa in the ejaculate. There are two types of disease:
- Obstructive azoospermia. A condition in which sperm cannot reach the ejaculate due to a physical obstruction of the tubular system. Patients have active spermatogenesis (production of germ cells), mature spermatozoa are often found in the epididymis or vas deferens, but they do not enter the ejaculate. In these cases, surgical techniques are used to obtain sperm for IVF or ICSI.
- Non-obstructive (secretory azoospermia). It is characterized by the absence of spermatozoa in the reproductive tract. The genitals may not have obvious or visible defects. However, sperm production/maturation can be disrupted due to a genetic disease, exposure to radiation, an accident, or surgery.
It is believed that non-obstructive azoospermia is not amenable to drug therapy. Patients with this diagnosis are unable to have children of their own. The only options for solving the problem are the use of donor sperm or adoption.
In recent years, new methods of treating azoospermia with stem cells have appeared. As in the treatment of other causes of male infertility, in the case of non-obstructive aozospermia, the following are mainly used:
- Spermatogonial cells. After injection into the testicular area, spermatogonial stem cells (SSCs) migrate into their niche and after a while begin to produce mature male germ cells, which leads to the appearance of spermatozoa in the ejaculate and creates conditions for natural conception.
- Mesenchymal cells. In this case, the mechanism of action of MSCs is not fully understood. However, scientists believe that they help restore fertility in men with azoospermia by regenerating tissues and organs responsible for spermatogenesis. It is also believed that MSCs can interact with the very small embryonic cells present in the testicles, triggering the normal process of sperm production.
MedTour company closely follows innovative developments in medicine and tries to make new methods of treatment more accessible to patients. Currently, we offer a unique opportunity to treat male infertility with stem cells. Call by phone or use the feedback form. The medical coordinator of MedTour will answer all your questions and help you arrange treatment in one of the best regenerative medicine clinics for free.
Prevention of male infertility
Some forms of infertility cannot be prevented. However, there are methods that help maintain the health of the reproductive system. Doctors recommend the following infertility prevention methods for men:
- quit smoking, alcohol abuse and drug use;
- avoid visiting baths and saunas, as high temperatures negatively affect the production and characteristics of spermatozoa;
- avoid exposure to industrial or environmental toxins;
- limit the use of drugs that can reduce fertility;
- adhere to a healthy diet;
- to live an active lifestyle.
With unsuccessful attempts to conceive a child for a year or more, the couple should consult a doctor. It is better to start diagnosis earlier, as fertility in men and women decreases with age.
How much does male infertility treatment cost?
The cost of treatment depends on the cause of a man’s infertility and the treatment method chosen. If we talk about stem cell therapy, then the price is formed taking into account the number of injections, as well as the methods of collecting and introducing cellular material. Contact the medical coordinator of MedTour in any way convenient for you to find out the exact cost of infertility treatment with stem cells in your particular case.
The best clinics for the treatment of male infertility
MedTour cooperates with the most famous and prestigious medical centers that offer services in the field of treatment of fertility disorders in men. Currently, we also offer a unique opportunity for stem cell therapy for male infertility. Give us a call or fill out the contact form for a free consultation.
The best specialists in the treatment of male infertility with stem cells
To consult about the treatment of male fertility disorders, you can consult Andrey Kovalchuk, a surgeon, PhD, who has extensive experience in the application of cell therapy methods in various medical fields, including the field of treatment of reproductive disorders.
Frequently asked questions
Can male infertility be cured?
It all depends on the reasons that caused the violation of fertility. Some of them are easy to eliminate, while others cannot be cured. However, the field of medicine is developing rapidly, new technologies are emerging that give hope to men suffering from infertility. One of them is cell therapy. Stem cell therapy helps to regenerate damaged tissues of the reproductive system and restore fertility. To find out more, contact the medical coordinator of MedTour by phone or using the feedback form.
How can a man be diagnosed as infertile?
If a couple does not use contraceptives for a year and cannot conceive a child, there is a high probability that one of the partners suffers from infertility. Without diagnostic examinations, it is impossible to know exactly which of the couple has reproductive health problems (women or men). The medical coordinator of MedTour will help you choose the best clinic for infertility diagnostics, taking into account your capabilities and wishes.
What medicine helps with infertility?
There is no single answer to this question. It all depends on the reasons that caused the violation of fertility in men. With a hormonal factor, drugs that normalize the hormonal background can be recommended. Also, drugs are prescribed for the treatment of underlying diseases that cause infertility. Currently, there are new methods of infertility treatment based on the principles of regenerative medicine. Stem cell injections promote the regeneration of damaged cells and restore the ability to conceive. To learn more about the innovative treatment method, get a free consultation from a MedTour coordinating doctor.