Contrary to many myths, infertility is not restricted to women. Issues with sperm quality and sperm production are a rising cause of infertility amongst couples. It is also likely that there is more than one cause of infertility. Thus, when a couple finds it difficult to conceive, both partners are advised to undergo fertility testing.
Tests to Diagnose Infertility in Men
There are different tests that may be used to diagnose infertility and identify a cause for the same. It is important to remember that even with these tests, it is possible to not identify a reason for infertility in men. However, the most common tests administered are:
Medical History and Physical Examination
The first step a doctor will take to diagnose infertility is to get a thorough understanding of the man’s medical history and the existence of any genetically inherited conditions that might affect fertility. The doctor will also examine the patient’s genitals to look for signs of injuries or infections.
Both the quantity and quality of sperm in semen play an important role in determining fertility. A semen analysis can indicate the concentration of sperm in the semen, the shape of sperm, average sperm motility and signs of infections if any. In most cases, more than one semen analysis may be needed to get an accurate picture of sperm health.
A scrotal ultrasound involves the use of sound waves to create an image of the reproductive organs on a computer screen. This allows the doctor to look for signs of a varicocele or any other such issues with the testicles.
Blood tests may be recommended to check the levels of testosterone and other such hormones that influence fertility.
This test is used to check for the presence of sperm in the urine. If present, it could be a sign of retrograde ejaculation.
If the sperm count is very low, the doctor may suspect a genetic cause. Hence a genetic blood test may be advised to check for signs of genetic abnormalities in the Y chromosome as well as the existence of any other congenital disorders.
Specialised Sperm Function Tests
A number of other tests may also be advised to check how well the sperm behave after ejaculation. This determines if they have the ability to penetrate the egg and if there are any issues with how the sperm attaches itself to the egg. These tests are rarely performed.
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