The reason for infertility may be that no oocyte (oogenesis
) or not a sufficient number of sperms (spermatogenesis
) reach maturity. If no oocyte matures, this is mostly due to a malfunction of the endocrine system with its endocrine glands (hypothalamus, pituitary gland, ovaries etc.). The underlying endocrine disorder has to be determined by doing hormone analysis and eventually being treated appropriately.
The presence of spermatozoa
is assessed by a microscopic examination of the semen sample
Many millions of motile spermatozoa are necessary for the successful fertilization
of an oocyte. However, only a few of them will actually reach the fallopian tube
. Within the fallopian tube the oocyte has to be surrounded by several hundreds of sperms for fertilization. Too few mobile sperms will result in a failure of fertilization. It is rare that sperm abnormalities are only caused by hormonal deficiency, but more frequently by a defect in the testicles themselves, which are more difficult to treat (compared to problems with the egg ripening process in women).
The diagnosis of male infertility requires special tests. Treatment with drugs or hormones may be tried in order to improve number and quality of mobile spermatozoa. Currently, there are hardly any treatment options for neither testicular degeneration nor genetic disorders that may affect the testes.