Secretory azoospermia is the most severe and prevalent form of azoospermia; 70% of the cases are explained by this type. Despite the fact that “secretrory azoospermia” is the most precise term, some manuals use excretory azoospermia or non-obstructive azoospermia (NOA).
Men suffering from secretory azoospermia do not produce sperm. This situation may be caused by testicular problems or alterations in the hypohpyseal axis, so hormone levels are not adequate. Besides, secretory azoospermia can be congenital or acquired, the latter caused by an external alteration.
Most common causes
Secretory problems are usually caused by the following:
- Embryonic development problems: some alterations take place during fetal formation: bilateral cryptorchidism, undeveloped testicles, non-descended or underdeveloped testicles.
- Genetic disorders: the genes involved in male gonadal development are altered: Klinefelter Syndrome (47XXY karyotype), Y-chromosome deletions (loss of the genetic material involved in spermatogenesis).
- Testicular torsions, traumas or infectious processes: in some cases, infant diseases such as mumps or meningitis, hinder spermatogenesis.
- Radiotherapy or chemotherapy drugs: these compounds may induce irreversible azoospermia; that is why oncologists may inform the patient about the issue before undergoing the treatment so that the patient can preserve his fertility. The procedure is simple: some semen samples are frozen and, once the patient wishes to be a father, the samples storaged in the semen bank can be used.
- Toxics and drugs: The presence of toxics, hair loss drugs or anabolics, severely affect sperm production. Nonetheless, it is reversible and after a few months without being exposed to these drugs, testicles resume its sperm production function.