Infertility Fast Facts
Couples approximately in the United States, or 10 percent of all couples of childbearing age, have difficulty conceiving.
Varicoceles, varicose veins in the scrotum can affect male fertility
A varicocele is a dilation of the veins within the scrotum that allows blood to pool and drain into the testicle. These veins are very similar to the varicose veins. Varicoceles interfere with the testicles ability to cool down causing the temperature in the testicles to be elevated. When the testicles “overheat,” men can have problems with the production and development of sperm, leading to infertility, smaller testicles, and even pain.
For about 40 percent of couples experiencing infertility, the male partner has a varicocele. In fact, varicoceles are present in about 15 percent of the general population and are typically found upon examination of the testicles by a urologist. Many men have varicoceles, but these veins are not always the underlying cause of infertility. Your physician will determine if varicocele repair is something that would be beneficial in your case. Semen analysis is one of the tools used in making this determination.
Varicoceles can cause problems with the development and production of sperm
If your doctor recommends a varicocele repair, the procedure is outpatient and general anesthesia is used. The urologist will located the veins that are distended and tie them off to allow redirection of the blood flow into veins that are normal and not distended. After a varicocele repair, about 70 percent of men show an improvement in their semen quality and have better results on semen analysis.