The interconnection between varicocele and male infertility


I’ve been diagnosed with varicocele, can it entail infertility?


The answer to this question cannot be univocal as having a varicocele does not necessarily mean that you will have fertility problems. A lot of men having varicocele don’t experience any problems with paternity. On the other hand, your risks of evolving male infertility are significantly higher compared to the healthy individuals.

The statistic says that varicocele is diagnosed in 4-40% of men on the whole, yet those, who have troubles with becoming a father faced with the issue much more often – in 17-41% of cases.

The effect of varicocele on male fertility?

The exact mechanism of impact is not absolutely clear yet. However, there are several assumptions towards this question.

  1. Because varicocele impairs the circulation of blood in the testicle (commonly the left one), the organ reduces in size and thus cannot perform its function properly. That’s why the quality of the semen and its quantity in the seminal fluid get lower.
  2. Oxidative stress is believed to be another most frequent reason for being unable to impregnate a woman linked to varicocele.
  3. Increased testicular temperature caused by the blood stasis may also influence the production of sperm and, hence, be the reason for infertility.

What can be done to prevent or cure varicocele?

Most men having varicocele don’t need to be treated. Yet, if it does affect the fertility, surgical treatment of the disease may be recommended. The surgery can improve the quality of sperm and increase the chances for impregnation. Sperm count and motility improve in 55-85% of cases. Still, treatment doesn’t guarantee that you will be able to become a father as the postsurgical pregnancy rate among the wives of operated men varies from 25% to 55%.