Infertility After a Prostatectomy

Published: 19th March 2010
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A large concern on a man's mind after a prostatectomy is whether they will experience infertility. The prostate plays an important role in reproduction, as it stores and secretes a fluid that makes up about one third of the consistency of semen. The prostate also works to force out semen during ejaculation. A prostatectomy is the complete or partial removal of the prostate.

Oversized prostate, tumors, prostate cancer or other problems may require the prostate to be removed for health reasons. Following a prostatectomy, conception may become more difficult and infertility may be present. However, conception may still be possible in cases where only part of the prostate is removed.

Once the seminal vesicle is taken out ,even a part of it, or if the procedure is incomplete, conception may still be in the cards. If the ejaculatory duct is intact following the surgery, sperm can continue to flow out and pregnancy may be realized.

If sperm isnot able to let out normally, pregnancy may not occur and man and woman should explore artificial reproductive technologies (ART) and other fertility enhancements.

While sperm cannot be naturally released, certain methods for extracting sperm may be successful. Once the sperm is removed, it may be used to fertilize an egg so that an embryo forms. Insemination may occur externally in a laboratory, or may occur internally. Patients are encouraged to explore all of their options with a fertility specialist to determine if artificial insemination and reproductive technologies are right for them.

In many men, erection problems may be present following surgery. The nerves that control the ability to have an erection are near the prostate and during surgery, if these nerves are damaged or removed, erections may be difficult to achieve. However, some men can actually regain the ability to have an erection depending on their age, ability to achieve an erection prior to surgery and how the nerves were affected.

Moreover, men may discover additional medical problems following a prostatectomy including urinary incontinence and damage to the urethra or rectum. It is important to discuss these possible side effects with a healthcare professional before surgery.

The procedure may be performed as open surgery, or through laparoscopic surgery using a series of small incisions. A general anesthetic is usually required, as well as a two to four day stay in the hospital. Speak with a fertility specialist for more information about how fertility may be affected following this procedure.

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