Advanced Male Fertility Tests

Testing Men for Fertility

It is becoming more and more well known that male infertility can be a major contributor to a couple's inability to conceive and that infertility is no longer just a women's issue. Therefore if a couple has been unsuccessful in getting pregnant over the period of one year, fertility experts recommend that both the male and female undergo fertility tests to try to get to the root of the problem. Testing men for infertility early on can spare a couple much time, discomfort, and expense in the long term. The earlier male or female fertility problems are identified, the sooner they can be treated.

Standard Male Fertility Tests

The most common and well-known male fertility tests fall under the general category of semen analysis. Included in this group are tests for sperm count and sperm concentration, sperm motility (movement), and sperm morphology (shape of the sperm). A semen analysis should be performed at least twice to confirm results.

If tests results fall outside of the 'normal' range, the abnormal results may well be part of the cause of infertility. Fortunately, many of these problems can be overcome with the appropriate treatments or interventions and couples can often still get pregnant.

Advanced Male Fertility Tests

In most cases semen analysis is sufficient to diagnosis male infertility however sometimes further testing is required. The following is a list of some more advanced male fertility tests:

Blood Work: If sperm count is low, blood may be tested for levels of testosterone, FSH (follicle-stimulating hormone), LH (luteinizing hormone), and prolactin levels.

Urine Testing (Urinalysis or Post-Ejaculatory Urinalysis): This test checks for white blood cells, which may indicate presence of infection, and for retrograde ejaculation (reverse ejaculation), a condition in which semen enters the bladder during orgasm instead of leaving the body through the urethra.

Hemizona Assay: A lab test to see if sperm are able to penetrate the outermost protective layer of an egg.

Hypo-osmotic Swelling: A lab test to evaluate sperm tails and their ability to penetrate an egg. Sperm are placed in a special sugar and salt solution wherein healthy sperm tails swell whereas dead or damaged sperm do not swell.

Vasography: An x-ray involving the injection of radioactive dye into the male reproductive tract; used to test for an obstruction in the vas deferens, the tube that carries the sperm from the testes to the urethra.

Ultrasound: Used to locate problems in the male reproductive tract such as the prostate, ejaculatory ducts, and seminal vesicles.

Genetic Karyotyping: A test performed when couples have a history of miscarriage; analyzes the number and structure of chromosomes in a sample of cells for the purpose of identifying possible genetic disorders or diseases.

Testicular Biopsy: A surgical procedure involving the removal of a small sample of testicular tissue in order to confirm an obstruction in the male reproductive tract. Used as a last resort (i.e. if all other tests are inconclusive) due to the risk of testicular damage.

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