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What Is Andrology? Male Reproductive

Andrology is the study of male diseases and male health, particularly relating to male reproductive problems and urological problems that are unique to men. Andrology addresses issues of infertility in males, erectile dysfunction, impotence, andropause, also know as male menopause, and male contraception. Although not as well known, Andrology is the male version of gynecology, which deals with medical issues of the female reproductive system.

An Andrologist, is a medical doctor who specializes in male reproductive issues and male sexual dysfunction. When treating patients with infertility issues, an Andrologist will devise a treatment plan that is best suited for the patient. Drugs, such as steroids or antibiotics, may be the preferred treatment plan to improve the quality of a patient’s semen. When blockages, that are affecting sperm production is the primary issue causing male infertility, surgery is the preferred method of treatment.

Many factors can have an influence on male infertility with most cases of infertility due to testicular damage and the inability to produce sperm. Additional issues include a low sperm count as well as the quality of the sperm produced, which is commonly referred to as sperm motility. When diagnosing male fertility, nearly 70% of the conditions causing the male patient to be infertile can be diagnosed by examining their medical history, through physical examination, testicular volume estimation, and hormonal and semen analysis.

People often mistakenly associate impotence, known as Erectile Dysfunction, with male infertility; these two conditions are not related. Impotence is the inability to get and maintain an erection, which prevents a male from having satisfactory sexual intercourse. The condition is quite common and it affects a large majority of men who are over the age of 40. Although unable to have an erection, a man who is impotent is still fertile and it is still possible for him to impregnate his female partner through insemination. Male infertility allows a man to have an erection and satisfactory sexual intercourse however, he cannot impregnate his female partner and produce children.
Andrologists treat male patients who are suffering from impotence. They can prescribe patient drugs such as Viagra, Levitra, and Cialis that can help the patient solve his erectile dysfunction issues. Another option is Hormone Replacement Therapy that will increase the testosterone in a male who has low testosterone levels. This may increase their sexual desire and their sexual libido. Andrologists also treat male menopause with testosterone replacement therapy. This treatment raises testosterone levels and restores hormone balance within the body of the male patients much as it does when used in patients who are afflicted with impotency.
Andrology is also used to assist men in family planning. Vasectomies are a form of male contraception that many men utilize when they do not want to have children and is the most effective form of male contraception. A vasectomy is a surgical procedure that blocks the path sperm take from the testicles to the penis. This is intended to be a permanent form of birth control. It can be reversed with a procedure called a vasovasostomy however, it is not always successful in restoring sperm flow.

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What is Sperm Aspiration?

Sperm Aspiration is a method in which sperm is extracted from the testicles or the epididymis using a very fine needle or through microsurgery and are used in intracytoplasmic sperm injection (ICSI). The viable sperm is then injected into a woman’s egg. This infertility treatment is more cost effective and simpler than in-vitro fertilization.

Sperm Extraction Techniques

Testicular sperm aspiration (TESA) is a procedure performed for men who have had a vasectomy and who are having sperm retrieved for in-vitro fertilization/intracytoplasmic sperm injection (IVF/ICSI). A needle is inserted in the testicle and tissue/sperm are aspirated. This procedure is coordinated with their female partner’s egg retrieval and is done in an operating room or office with local anesthesia. An open testis biopsy is needed when TESA does not provide enough tissue/sperm.

Percutaneous Epididymal Sperm Aspiration (PESA) PESA is a simple and quick procedure to obtain sperm for Intra Cytoplasmic Sperm Injection (ICSI) in men who have an obstruction of the vas deferens, either due to vasectomy, infection, or other obstruction. Sufficient sperm for ICSI is obtained in 80% of attempts. The procedure is usually performed using a mild sedative and local anesthetic. A very fine needle is inserted into the epididymis where sperm are aspirated for use in an IVF procedure.

Microepididymal Sperm Aspiration (MESA) is a procedure performed for men who have vasal or epididymal obstruction resulting from a vasectomy or absence of the vas defrens. The procedure can be scheduled or done in conjunction with their female partner’s egg retrieval. It is performed in an operating under general anesthesia using an operating microscope. MESA allows for an extensive collection of sperm compared to other aspiration techniques and the sperm can be cryopreserved for future IVF/ICSI.

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