My husband went to see a reproductive urologist this week and found out that his infertility/low sperm count is due to a varicocele in his left testicle. A varicocele is an enlargement of the internal spermatic veins that drains blood from the testicle to the abdomen and back to the heart via the renal vein on the left and the inferior vena cava on the right. This enlargement causes increased temperatures around the testicle which in turn causes decreased sperm count, decreased sperm motility and an increase in the number of deformed sperm - all of which my husband has.
Varicoceles are present in about 15% of the male population and 40% of infertile men. A varicocele develops when the one way valves in the spermatic veins are damaged causing an abnormal back flow of blood from the abdomen into the scrotum causing a hostile environment for sperm development.
Varicoceles most commonly are corrected surgically either by tying off the dilated veins around the testicles thereby diverting the blood or placing a coil or other barrier inside the vein, called percutaneous embolization, which also redirects the blood flow. Improvement in semen quality post operatively is seen in 50-90% of patients after 3-6 months. Pregnancy rates after surgery improve by 30-50%.
My husband's surgery consultation will be on 14 March. We are still going to go through with Round 2 of our IUI treatment per our RE's recommendation, but then if not successful again we will take a month off and allow my husband time to recuperate before trying again for Round 3. Hopefully with the repair our chances will increase greatly!