Assisted Reproductive Technology (ART): Electric or Vibratory Stimulation

ART, or assisted reproductive technology, refers to various treatments aimed at resolving barriers to natural births induced by infertility. One such application is the use of electric or vibratory stimulation for establishing ejaculation among men. This is commonly seen in IVF or IUI treatments.

Application of Electric or Vibratory Stimulation

Electric or vibratory stimulation devices are recommended for men who are suffering from impaired ejaculation or cannot perform coitus in the proper manner to induce proper ejaculation. This limits the amount of seminal fluid and overall quality of the sperm. The more serious scenario in this niche is males who cannot ejaculate at all. The reasons for this can include extreme obesity that makes it difficult to establish proper postures for intercourse or severe injuries.

However, this form of artificial stimulation does have some contradictions. This includes:

  • Severe inflammation of penile skin
  • People with history of hypertension
  • Existing trauma to inguinal area and thighs (with bandaging, sutures)
  • Presence of prosthesis around the penile-inguinal area
  • Varicose veins in the inguinal area
  • Nervous disorders that can induce uncoordinated reflexes upon inducing vibrations
  • History of pain or infection to the penis/testicular tissue upon using vibratory devices

Understanding Electric & Vibratory Stimulation

Electric or vibratory stimulation is aimed at initiating and sustaining ejaculation to obtain the appropriate amount of semen from the male. This procedure is commonly recommended to men who have a serious spinal cord injury.

Penile Vibratory Stimulation or PVS

PVS is recommended to men who can sustain erection and perform sexual intercourse but cannot ejaculate. This includes the absence of ejaculatory fluids or negligible amount of ejaculatory fluids from which sperm cannot be extracted. Either of the scenarios means that the fertility clinic providing the ART treatment doesn’t have healthy sperm to initiate fertilization with the female eggs.

In such cases, PVS is recommended. This undemanding procedure does not need sedation. It consists of a mechanical vibrator. The vibrator contraption is placed along the glans of the penis. The motion of vibrator can be controlled. This is done by altering its frequency and amplitude settings.

The vibrator produces vibrations that travel along the sensory nerve pathway of the spinal cord. This increases the chances of ejaculation being induced as a reflex action. The vibrators used for this purpose are more progressive than penile vibrators available in the market.

However, this method has a limitation. It is not suitable for men who have a compromised ejaculatory reflex pathway. This is often seen among men who have suffered extreme physical trauma in an accident where nerves around the spinal cord have been damaged. There are very few complications related to PVS. The most common problem is skin abrasions caused by the friction of the vibrator’s action.

Electro-Ejaculation

This treatment is widely used in the genetic and breeding programs where mammals are tested upon for medical research. Now, this technology has been applied in ART for men with ejaculatory dysfunctions. Electroejaculation is a bit more demanding than the vibratory approach.

For starters, it is executed using a general anesthetic. The fertility specialist proceeds by inserting a small electrical probe into the rectal area of the male. The point of insertion is adjacent to the prostate.  The probe functions by delivering a controlled electrical jolt. This is meant to stimulate the surrounding nerves. This includes the nerves of the pelvis that are involved in the ejaculatory pathway.

This method is recommended for more serious cases wherein a sperm cannot be extracted from the IVF or IUI male in a less demanding way. A common example includes men with paralysis. Please note that this treatment doesn’t ensure that the ejaculated fluid will be properly directed through the penis. Usually, the ejaculate is collected artificially. This is done by inserting a syringe and extracting the ejaculate from the urethra.