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Researchers develop simple treatment for male infertility

New Delhi, Thu, 24 Jul 2008 NI Wire

Infertile men can have a fair chance to be fertile by simply going through a painless invasive treatment that can significantly improve a couple's chance for pregnancy.

For this treatment, instead of going through an open surgery, which was the only known method yet, the patient will go through a retrograde venous embolization - a simple treatment that uses a catheter through the groin. The treatment can help to improve sperm function in infertile men. The researchers also found that success of the treatment can also be predicted by the level of sperm motility.

The study was conducted at the University of Bonn in Germany under the lead researcher and Professor Sebastian Flacke and is being published in the medical journal Radiology.

"With the patients' improved sperm function, more than one-quarter of their healthy partners were able to become pregnant," said Flacke.

For the purpose of study 223 infertile men aged between 18-50 were selected. It was taken into consideration that all men under study had healthy partners with whom they were trying to achieve a pregnancy.

The 226 of the patients' 228 varicoceles were successfully treated with embolization. Three months later the analysis performed on 173 patients found significantly improved sperm motility and sperm count. And, six months later, 45 couples reported pregnancy.

"Embolization of varicoceles in infertile men may be considered a useful adjunct to in-vitro fertilization," Dr. Flacke said.

Explaining the problem that causes infertility in men, Dr. Sebastian Flacke says, normally blood flows to the heart via a network of tiny veins that have a series of one-way valves to prevent the blood from flowing backward to the testicles. If the valve becomes defective, blood does not properly circulate out of the testicles, which cause swelling and swollen veins in the male scrotum called a varicocele.

These varicoceles can be now treated with using a new procedure called retrograde venous embolization.

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