Infertility for men can be as simple as swollen veins in the scrotum, known as varicoceles, a tangle of blood vessels preventing blood circulation through the veins in the testicles.
Now a procedure using a tiny catheter, inserted in the groin and guided with the help of x-rays into the varicocele, has been shown to block excessive blood flow into the veins, allowing them to return to normal size.
The findings appear in the August issue of Radiology, and come out of the University of Bonn Medical School in Germany. The procedure known as retrograde venous embolization is minimally invasive.
In the study, 226 cases of varicoceles were successfully treated with the swollen veins fully resolved in 206 men, which was 92.4 percent.
The procedure improved semen quality and count in this study and resulted in pregnancies in one-third of the partners of the participants studied.
The authors conclude that retrograde venous embolization could be a “useful adjunct to in-vitro fertilization therapy.” It also has a short recovery time with most patients home the next day.
Infertility expert Dr. Hossein Sadeghi-Nejad says women are often the focus of fertility treatments. “The fact is that a male factor is responsible for infertility in about half of the cases," he said to U.S. News, "Varicoceles are one example of the male factor that can affect fertility."
Researchers conclude that sperm motility is an important predictor of pregnancy. #