Scientists have developed a new infertility treatment for men which is less invasive than existing treatments and can significantly improve a man's chances of fathering a child.
According to UK statistics, around 30 per cent of men are sub-fertile and at least two per cent are totally infertile.
The treatment, venous embolisation, could replace open surgery as the standard treatment for problematic varicoceles - varicose veins that develop in the scrotum and that affect at least one in ten men, causing swelling, pain, shrinkage and even fertility problems.
According to Dr Sebastian Flacke, associate professor of radiology at the Tufts University School of Medicine, the new treatment is performed via a catheter through the groin.
A tiny platinum coil and agent are then inserted to treat the problematic vein and improve sperm function.
"With the patients' improved sperm function, more than one quarter of their healthy partners were able to become pregnant," Dr Flacke revealed, adding that the procedure "may be considered a useful adjunct to in-vitro fertilisation".
The findings are published in the journal Radiology