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Interestingly, the WebMD medical website stated that up to half of the cases of infertility can be explained by a health problem that the man has - not the woman. Furthermore, 20-30 percent of the time, it is the man’s low fertility that is the direct cause of the couple’s inability to conceive. So just what are the available options for fertility testing for men?
But first, why test at all?
Simply put, if both the man and woman get tested (especially after trying for at least a year of having unprotected sex to get pregnant without any success), then this may save time and expense. The earlier the problem is found, the earlier treatment can be recommended. An appointment should be made with an urologist for an evaluation. Expect the basic medical interview – your medical history, reproductive history, surgeries you’ve had, and whether or not you smoke, exercise or do drugs – and a physical exam. Lastly, a semen sample will be taken and tested.
According to WebMD, the sperm and semen analysis is used to assess the sperm count, their shape, movement and any other variables. Normally, the higher and the more normal-shaped the sperm count is, the higher the fertility. However, as an exception, it has been noted that some men who have a low sperm count and abnormal semen can still be fertile. But for those who are not fertile, if there is anything appearing as abnormal, additional tests can be conducted to find out the cause.
A physical exam, performed by an urologist, can indicate if there are any problems as well. One such problem may be varicocoeles – it is the most common male infertility problem – totaling 38 percent of the cases. Variococoeles happen when there are abnormal formations of veins above the testicles. Thankfully, this can be repaired by surgery.
Genetic testing may also be done to test for infertility. These tests can show particular problems that may block fertility and even specific problems with the sperm.
Additional Fertility Problems:
Abnormal antibodies – some men produce antibodies that attack their own sperm before the sperm can make it to fertilize the egg.