Male Infertility Tests

The term 'male infertility' is used when a man is unable to contribute to the conception of a child. In other words, when a woman fails to become pregnant, in spite of various attempts of unprotected sex, and she does not seem to have any apparent fertility problem, the doubt of male infertility sets in. In order to determine if the man has a fertility issue, male fertility tests come into play.

These tests primarily help to determine if the man is infertile. If the man does suffer from infertility, the tests further help to determine the cause as well as provide options for treatment based on the cause ascertained.

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Physical Examination

Testing for the probability of male infertility begins with a physical examination, which involves the scrutiny of the male reproductive organs. Infertility caused by clearly visible conditions such as undescended testes or structural abnormalities of the penis or scrotum can be easily identified through a simple physical examination. In addition to actual examination, discussing past medical history, family history, lifestyle and sexual habits with a doctor is also important so as to get a clear picture of what could be hampering the chances of conceiving a child.

Genetic Testing for Infertility

Genetic irregularities are a well-known cause of male infertility. Genetic factors have the ability to affect the production and quality of sperm as well as the general functioning of the male reproductive tract thereby hampering fertility levels. Genetic tests help to indentify a natural defect that may be present and thereby provide an answer to the cause of male infertility. In case, assisted methods of reproduction are opted for, genetic tests also provide details of the risk factor of passing on certain abnormalities to a child conceived thereafter.

Sperm & Semen Analysis

Since sperm plays a vital role in the formation of new life, sperm and semen analysis is of great importance when testing for infertility. A fresh semen sample is tested in a laboratory to check sperm count, sperm motility and the overall quality of the sperm. The volume of semen ejaculated and the consistency of the seminal fluid also provide valuable information. For the result to be as accurate as possible, patients are advised to abstain from any form of sexual activity for three days prior to the analysis.

Ultrasound

An ultrasound of the male genital region helps to pinpoint the existence of any structural abnormality or any anomaly that may have been triggered by trauma or illness.

Ultrasounds help to detect any abnormalities in the flow of blood to this region or the presence of any cysts or tumors that could be affecting fertility. Ultrasound imaging also provides a clear picture of the testes.

Infertility Blood Tests

Infertility testing includes blood tests that are conducted to check for infections such as sexually transmitted diseases that could be the cause of infertility. Conditions such as HIV and hepatitis, that affect fertility, can also be detected through blood tests. Blood tests also help to ascertain if the hormone levels in the body are well balanced for the purpose of procreation.

Varicocele

Another condition that causes infertility is varicocele. In this condition, the scrotal vein that drains the testicles gets abnormally enlarged. This is caused by the malfunctioning of the valves in the veins and results in the backflow of blood, leading to increased pressure in the testicles. This can lead to permanent damage of the organ, thereby affecting fertility.  A Doppler ultrasound is the most commonly used method for the detection of this condition.

Hormone Testing

Hormones play a crucial role in reproduction especially FSH or follicle stimulating hormone and testosterone. FSH is essential for the formation of sperm while testosterone is needed for the maturation of reproductive organs as well as the normal development of sperm. If there is an imbalance in either of these hormones, fertility levels in men are bound to be affected.

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