In the past, most infertility problems were thought to be exclusive to women, but more recent information has come to light proving that a third of infertility cases stem from problems of the male half of the partnership. Male infertility may be the sole cause of a couples failure to conceive, or both partners could be contributing to it with their own problems. This makes it extremely important for both partners to undergo fertility testing if there are problems with conception in order to pinpoint and possible solve any problems. For men, infertility testing is less invasive and costly than for women, so its best to get tested as early as possible in any infertility proceedings.
If infertility is suspected due to lack of conception, the first thing should be to see a doctor, preferably a urologist. The doctor will most likely conduct a semen analysis to check both quality and quantity of sperm. Collection of the semen sample will take place in the doctors office or very nearby; the analysis must be performed very quickly in order to avoid sample degradation. Semen analysis is both non-invasive and relatively low cost.
First, a physical exam is performed, and medical and sexual histories are completed. The bulk of male infertility testing takes place on semen procured through autoerotic measures. The primary benchmarks which are checked first include evaluations of how many sperm are present and their motility. These tests are meant to check for low sperm count and low motility, both contributing factors for male infertility.
Depending on the results of the first semen analysis, the doctor may want the test taken again for confirmation. If both tests have results in the normal range, this is typically taken to mean that the male is not the cause of the infertility. If the results fall outside the normal ranges, further tests may be needed to isolate the problem.
Problems Detected by Semen Analysis
There are many causes of male infertility. The problems which can be detected through a simple semen analysis include:
Azoospermia Sperm are either not being produced or are otherwise not present in the semen.
Oligospermia Sperm are produced, but in abnormally low numbers.
Low motility Sperm are present in semen, but do not swim properly.
Morphology problems Sperm are produced in sufficient numbers but suffer from structural problems.
These specific conditions could be the root cause of a couples failure to conceive, but may themselves be symptoms of an underlying problem or illness. If any of these problems are detected, the doctor will likely want to order further testing.
Reason for Male Infertility
While there are several factors which may contribute to male infertility, many of them can be found and rectified through proper testing. Whether the cause is a physical problem which inhibits the sperm from being ejaculated properly or a problem with the production of the sperm, infertility treatments do exist and can help.