The history of male infertility treatment is brief. Historically, infertility was thought to be only a female condition. In the late 18th century, a few physicians began to recognize infertility could develop in males, but treatment did not exist. At the time, injections of another male’s sperm into the woman’s vagina, or intercourse with another male, were the only alternatives. Further treatment did not appear until the 1970’s.
In Vitro Fertilization (IVF)
In 1978, in vitro fertilization offered hope for infertile men wanting biological children. Men suffering from severely low sperm count, weak sperm or blockages could have their sperm extracted and implanted into a female egg. In the laboratory, mobile sperm were placed in a culture with the female egg. Fertilization took place within 24 hours, and after several more hours, the fertilized egg was planted in the womb.
Intracytoplasmic Sperm Injection (ICSI)
By 1999, a technique called intracytoplasmic sperm injection was perfected. Similar to IVF, the sperm is collected from the male. Mobile sperm are placed in a culture with the female egg. If the sperm are weak, they may not be able to penetrate the egg. In this case, a single sperm is injected into the egg.