Medical Reviewer

Dr. Alexandra Berger, MD

Dr. Alexandra Berger graduated from the University of Pennsylvania with a Bachelor of Arts, subsequently receiving her medical degree from Brown University in 2016. She completed urology residency at Harvard University followed by a Reconstructive Urology fellowship at the University of Colorado. Dr. Berger is currently an Associate Surgeon and Instructor of Surgery in Boston where she specializes in men’s health, including male factor infertility, sexual dysfunction, and cancer survivorship.

Articles by

Dr. Alexandra Berger, MD

Vasectomy Reversal: What to Know

Though a vasectomy was formerly considered a permanent sterilization procedure, modern developments have made reversal possible. This article will outline the various procedures for reversing a vasectomy and the likelihood of success in restoring fertility, including a comparison to alternative fertility options.

Sperm Retrieval Procedures

This article focuses on sperm retrieval procedures, which are procedures that remove sperm from the testicles for the purpose of fertilizing an oocyte (egg). This may be used for men with no sperm in the ejaculate (azoospermia), but that still produce sperm in the testes.

There are two main types of techniques for surgical sperm retrieval: aspiration and extraction. Sperm aspiration involves using a needle to remove (aspirate) sperm from the epididymis or the testes. Sperm extraction takes a sample of the tissue, known as a biopsy, to collect the sperm. There are also different variations or subtypes of these procedures, as well as non-surgical approaches for those with ejaculation limitations.

Egg Freezing: What Is It and What Is Involved?

Egg freezing is a fertility preservation technique that was first made available in the late 1990s to women undergoing cancer treatments that could potentially affect their fertility. While this remains an impetus for the procedure, egg freezing is now also used by women to preserve their fertility for a wide range of reasons. Previously considered experimental, egg freezing is currently considered to have minimal risk, and is even covered by some employers in the U.S. through health insurance.

Stages of Embryo Development from Fertilization to Blastocyst

Read through the different stages of embryo development and what happens after egg retrieval in IVF. Day-by-day outlines and more from researchers in the field.

What Is Sperm DNA Fragmentation and How Can It Be Improved?

Approximately 20 to 30 percent of infertility cases are due solely to male infertility, and male infertility contributes to about half of infertility cases overall.i Sperm defects are a leading cause of male factor infertility; these include a type of sperm DNA damage known as sperm DNA fragmentation (SDF). Doctors and researchers are still learning about SDF, including what causes it, how it can be treated, and how it impacts fertility.

What Is Erectile Dysfunction (ED) and How Does It Impact Fertility?

While both men and women can experience sexual function issues that affect fertility, erectile dysfunction (ED) in men can be one of the more common and problematic. The physical aspect of ED can mean an inability to perform during intercourse and an impeded ability to deliver sperm. However, ED can also be a sign of other health problems and may lead to emotional distress for men, especially when trying to conceive. Understanding what causes ED, who may be most at risk, and how it can be treated are all critical elements for reaching one’s fertility goals.

Understanding Sperm Production

Sperm, or spermatozoa, are the reproductive cells (gamete) of a biological male. The reproductive cell of a biological female is called an oocyte, ovum, or egg. The primary function of sperm is to reach and fuse with an egg. This allows the sperm to deliver male genetic information (DNA) into the egg. In doing so, a zygote (fertilized egg) is formed, which can then go through stages of development to form a fetus. Human DNA is contained within structures called chromosomes, which are found inside the nucleus of every cell. Most human cells are diploid cells, meaning they contain two sets of 23 chromosomes—one set from the sperm and one set from the egg that made them. Sperm and egg cells, however, are haploid cells, and contain a single set of 23 chromosomes. When a sperm fuses with an egg, the newly formed zygote will have two sets of chromosomes, one from the sperm and one from the egg. This is how most human cells end up with a total of 46 chromosomes. Sperm production occurs inside male testes (testicles). Unlike biological females, who are born with all the eggs they will ever produce in their lifetime, biological males start to produce sperm once they reach puberty and will continue making sperm throughout their lifespan. Sperm are also called spermatozoa (plural) or spermatozoon (singular). The term “sperm” can be singular or plural.

What Is a Varicocele and How Is It Treated?

Varicocele is a fairly common condition affecting the male reproductive system. Many men have varicoceles, but not all varicoceles cause problems. In some men, varicoceles lead to issues such as testicular pain, decreased sperm count, and decreased sperm quality that can affect fertility. For these individuals, varicocele treatment can help.

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