Does Retrograde Ejaculation Cause Male Infertility?
Retrograde ejaculation occurs when semen enters the bladder instead of coming out through the penis during orgasm. Although you still reach sexual climax, you might ejaculate very little or no semen. This is sometimes called a dry orgasm. Retrograde ejaculation isn’t harmful, but it can cause male infertility.
An important but sometimes overlooked cause of male infertility is retrograde ejaculation.
When a man experiences retrograde ejaculation, the semen from his orgasm exits into the bladder instead of the penis. While this does not affect the pleasure or physical sensation of the orgasm, it results in little to no ejaculate, or what is sometimes referred to as a dry orgasm.
The entry of sperm into the bladder has no adverse effects, and isn’t harmful in itself. However, the resulting lack of sperm can create a major challenge to fertility for men looking to begin a family.
Thankfully, both the causes and treatments of retrograde ejaculation are well understood.
What Are the Causes?
When a man orgasms, sperm is moved from the testicle through the prostate in a tube known as the vas deferens. During this process, there is a constriction of a muscle at the bladder’s opening. This is the same bladder muscle that also constricts to restrict urine in the bladder before going to the washroom.
While the muscle normally tightens during orgasm to block semen from being expelled into the bladder after being released from the vas deferens, this fails to occur in cases of retrograde ejaculation.
There are several potential explanations for the failure of the muscle. Surgery, such as bladder neck surgery, and certain surgeries and treatments for testicular cancer or prostate surgery, can be one common cause of retrograde ejaculation, as it may weaken or damage the necessary muscle.
Outside of surgery, some medical conditions can also cause nerve damage which impairs the bladder muscle. These conditions can include spinal cord injuries, MS, Parkinson’s, and Diabetes.
Lastly, some medications can also trigger retrograde ejaculation, including certain prescriptions used for treating depression, prostate enlargement, and high blood pressure.
What Are My Options?
As stressful as retrograde ejaculation may seem, and as intimidating as it may feel to have to deal with challenges to your fertility, there is good news.
After a consultation with a physician, perhaps a change in your existing medications may be enough to resolve the issue. If such solutions are unable to resolve the issue, there is a process in place to overcome the lack of sperm output.
Typically, this involves the collection of sperm from both ejaculate and urine. Because the normal acid levels of urine will kill the sperm, you will start by taking some over the counter medications to make the urine less acidic. Then you will ejaculate. Two specimens are collected: one for the ejaculate if there is any and one will be a urine collection. If sperm is found in the urine, it will be separated from the urine sample. The sperm will then undergo a special sperm wash, removing dead sperm and debris normally present in a specimen and urine. The cleaned sperm sample can then be used for intrauterine insemination (IUI) or with assisted reproductive technology (ART) such as IVF.
At Reproductive Health and Wellness Center, we are constantly looking for the most cutting-edge male infertility treatment options. Our founder, Dr. Marcus Rosencrantz, is an expert in fertility care, and he has made it his life’s mission to continue advancing infertility treatments until success rates are at 100%. We are passionate about helping people build their families, through financing options for treatments, wellness programs to target every aspect that may be causing infertility, and personalized treatment programs to provide the highest chances of a successful pregnancy for you and your family. We are always willing to answer any questions a patient may have and encourage you to reach out to us for any of your infertility needs! To book a consultation, you can click here, or, we can always be reached by phone at (949) 516-0606.