News Release

June 16, 2006

Contact: Maureen McGuire, 860-679-4523

Help Available for Couples Facing Male Factor Infertility

Message of Hope for Father’s Day

Farmington, Conn. – Infertility is not exclusively a woman’s health problem. As many as 40-percent of couples who experience infertility are unable to conceive because of “male factor infertility,” marked by less than optimal sperm production.

Expert care is available at the Center for Advanced Reproductive Services at the University of Connecticut Health Center to diagnose, treat and help couples affected by male factor infertility become parents.

“Father’s Day is appropriate time to focus our attention on the men who face infertility problems,” said Health Center specialist Donald Maier, M.D. “June is also World Infertility Month, an annual worldwide campaign to provide global support and public education about infertility, its effects, prevention and treatment,” he added.

For men facing infertility treatment, the first step in the process involves a thorough evaluation by a Health Center urologist who specializes in diagnosing and treating infertile men. This evaluation includes a medical history, physical examination, complete semen analysis and, if appropriate, sperm-function tests.

“We then determine the most appropriate treatment for each man and couple. This may include medical or surgical treatment to increase sperm counts, inseminations together with super-ovulation therapy, or the use of sperm from an identified or anonymous donor,” Dr. Maier said.

Intracytoplasmic sperm injection (ICSI)

For couples with severe male factor infertility, the Center uses a technique called intracytoplasmic sperm injection – or ICSI.

“ICSI has clearly been the most exciting of all of the male infertility treatments because of its very high success rates,” Dr. Maier said. With this technique, Dr. Maier explained, a single sperm is injected into an egg obtained through the process of in vitro fertilization (IVF). This way an egg can be fertilized by a single sperm that otherwise is unable to bind or penetrate the zona pellucida (the permeable barrier around the egg) or underlying egg membrane.

“We offer ICSI to men whose sperm has not fertilized eggs in previous IVF cycles, whose sperm has severe abnormalities, or who have abnormalities in the steps required to achieve normal fertilization. Men with unsuccessful vasectomy reversals, congenital or acquired absence or obstructions of the male reproductive tract, spinal cord injuries, or pituitary deficiencies are also potential candidates,” he said.

The Center for Advanced Reproductive Services offers many advanced techniques to help patients achieve successful pregnancies. UConn was one of the first IVF centers in Connecticut and is currently the largest such center in the state. The Center also has satellite offices in Hamden and Hartford.

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