Both genders, women and men may suffer from some fertility issues. They all should undergo fertility tests and specific exams. These are not the same for both genders and the doctor actually determines when they are supposed to be performed.
Many men are recommended to undergo fertility testing if they are trying to have a child with their female partners who are confirmed to be of appropriate reproductive health and capable to conceive.
It is estimated that 20-30% of men are actually affected by some degree of infertility. The problem may be embarrassing, but should not be neglected. With proper treatment fertility may improve and the affected man may one day become a father.
Male Infertility - Evaluation
Infertility is diagnosed in case a couple has been trying to conceive a child for at least 12 months without any success.
Women turn to their gynecologists while men are examined by urologists. The doctor generally first asks some questions and takes a patient's medical history. Data regarding reproductive history are in this case of major importance. It is essential to report all previous surgeries (particularly those in the pelvic area), medications the patient is currently taking as well as habits he cherishes such as smoking and even illicit drug abuse. What follows is a physical exam.
It is crucial to be honest with the doctor and talk frankly about sexual life. One is also due to say whether he has had any sexually transmitted disease which may have contributed to infertility.
Male Infertility Tests
Once the physical exam is over, patients are due to provide with a sample of semen which is going to be tested and analyzed.
Sperm and semen analysis is one of the most important tests when it comes to male infertility. Men who are fertile have a higher number of normal-shaped sperm. However, even men with low sperm count or abnormal semen may remain fertile. So by evaluating number of spermatozoids as well as determining whether they look normal or are abnormally shaped, doctors finally determine whether men are fertile or not. In case the first analysis seems optimal, testing can be repeated after some time in order to confirm the results.
Apart from sperm and semen analysis, men also undergo hormone evaluation i.e. their level of testosterone as well as other hormones in blood is measured.
One more test men may be subjected to is detection of anti-sperm antibodies. The presence of these antibodies in one's sperm is associated with damage to normal spermatozoids and prevents them from fertilizing the egg.
Finally, there is one more test included. It is an analysis of a genetic material of the affected men.