Heading to the Doctor
If you suspect that you and your partner may have a fertility issue, it’s time to get tested. Many people will simply ignore the problem because they are embarrassed to discuss it with a doctor, or they are scared of what the testing entails. By learning more about this process and understanding how male infertility testing works, it should help to alleviate your fears and to make testing easier.
First, you’ll need to schedule an appointment with your family doctor. You’ll explain to your doctor that you think there is an issue and will tell your doctor how long you’ve been trying to get pregnant and if you’ve used any pregnancy aids. Your doctor will probably order a semen analysis to check both the quality and the quantity of your sperm. You will need to provide a sample in the doctor’s office, and will be offered a cup and a quiet location.
Looking at the Results
If the first analysis of your semen is normal, then your doctor will order a second set of tests to rule out false negative results. If you get back two normal tests, then this generally indicates that you don’t have a sperm problem or male fertility issues. However, if something still looks irregular to the doctor, he may order more tests to determine if there is a problem or he may send you to a fertility specialist.
If there does seem to be a problem with your semen, it’s possible that it could be a number of different issues. Semen analysis can detect Azoospermia, where no sperm is produced at all. It could detect Oligiospermia, where only a little bit of sperm is produced. It may show a sperm motility issue, where the sperm aren’t moving in a normal way and are not likely to fertilize an egg. It can show sperm morphology, where the sperm’s form and structure are causing the infertility. These problems may, in themselves, be the problem with conceiving. However, they may also indicate an underlying problem that the doctor will need to investigate.
If the doctor does find that there is a male infertility problem, he will take many steps with you to correct the situation. The physician will ask you about your environmental factors and lifestyle and may suggest behavior and eating changes to increase your fertility. If you a have a low sperm count, the doctor may actually recommend decreasing your sexual activity to build up your sperm. You may also be given folic acid and zinc to increase your sperm count. If the doctor finds that you have abnormal hormone levels, he may recommend hormone treatment. At times, retrograde ejaculation is treated with over-the-counter cold medicines!
In some cases where there is mild infertility, the doctor may recommend artificial insemination or other assisted reproduction techniques. The doctor will also weigh this evaluation on whether or not the woman also has issues.
Really, the most intimidating and potentially embarrassing part of being evaluated for male infertility involves obtaining the sample. If you weigh this embarrassment against the opportunity to get assistance to conceive, there really is no discussion. The doctor deals with many patients each day, and obtaining a semen sample from you is not going to faze him or her. Keep this in mind and create open communication with your doctor about your issues. This will help put you on the road towards conceiving that baby you desire so much!