Azoospermia: Can it be treated?

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Azoospermia: Can it be treated?


My wife and I have been trying unsuccessfully to have a baby. The results of a sperm analysis showed that my sperm count is zero. How is that possible?



Unfortunately, it is possible. Azoospermia — a complete lack of sperm in the ejaculate — accounts for 10 percent to 15 percent of all male infertility. In some cases, it is treatable. But it depends on the underlying cause.

Azoospermia has two general causes:

  • Nonobstructive azoospermia — a lack of sperm production by the testicles. Causes of nonobstructive azoospermia include congenital defects of the testicles and damage or injury to the testicles.
  • Obstructive azoospermia — blockage in the sperm transport system. Causes of obstructive azoospermia include damage, injury or abnormalities of the epididymis, vas deferens or ejaculation duct — which transport sperm.

In men with obstructive azoospermia, the blockage may be surgically corrected. If this isn't possible, sperm may be harvested from the testicles for use in intracytoplasmic sperm injection (ICSI), a form of in vitro fertilization (IVF). Treatment of infertility is more difficult in men with nonobstructive azoospermia.

Azoospermia requires evaluation by a doctor skilled in reproductive medicine.

Last Updated: 01/31/2006
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