Medical Q&As

Male infertility - treatment in Ireland?

What facilities are available in Ireland for a woman to get pregnant when her husband is infertile?

In the case of male infertility there are a number of options available to the couple. However, before embarking on any course of treatment it would be important to establish that the woman is fertile and not go through a disappointing process of failed therapy that could extend for many months or years. It is not unknown for both partners to be infertile. If we take the situation as given and assume that you are fertile then artificial insemination by donor is one option. In that situation a sample of anonymous donor semen is deposited in the vagina near the cervix at that time of the month when the woman is ovulating or releasing the egg. This is a relatively low-tech procedure, which is available in some GP practices. It is unusual for this technique to be successful on the first occasion and it may take several monthly visits throughout the year before conception takes place. There is also a high-tech procedure available called ICSI (intracytoplasmic sperm injection). This technique makes it possible for men with no sperm in their semen to father a child. Sperm can be extracted from the testicle through a variety of means and then injected later into the female egg. The sperm can be extracted and frozen some time ahead of the fertilisation. Any excess sperm can be banked for future use. From the woman’s point of view the procedure for her is comparable to a typical IVF (in vitro fertilisation) procedure. Fertilisation of the egg takes place in the laboratory and the fertilised egg is then introduced into the woman’s womb some time later. Artificial insemination and ICSI are available in Ireland. Your GP could discuss the various options with you and assist you in making the necessary arrangements.