The problem of infertility usually affects both men and women and if left unchecked it can cause a relationship breakdown. This is why it is important for couples who have not been able to conceive in a period of more than one year to seek medical attention. There are numerous causes of infertility in couples and many couples usually have more than one cause.
Both partners need to be screened comprehensively to get an understanding of their medical and physical history. It must be noted that there are instances where the cause of infertility may never be ascertained. Infertility tests are usually expensive something that most couples usually find difficult to do.
Male infertility tests are usually a simple routine procedure. Research has found that male infertility only accounts for nearly one third of all cases that involve infertility. Below are some types of tests that are often used for diagnosing male infertility problems:
General Physical Examination and Medical history
Here the man’s genitals will be examined physically and then questions will be asked of any genetic conditions which the man may have inherited. Some of the common conditions that may cause infertility include chronic health problems, illnesses, injuries or surgeries.
The other questions that the doctor may ask are about the sexual habits of the man and his sexual development during puberty.
Semen Analysis of Male Infertility Testing
Semen analysis is the most common fertility testing that is usually done when trying to find out about the male infertility factor.
It involves the collection of sperm in a specimen container and then handed to a lab technician who will then examine the sperm under a microscope to evaluate the count, appearance, shape, motility of the sperm.
When trying to determine the sperm count, the lab technician must also check to see and ascertain if really the sperm concentration is above or below the threshold of 20 million sperm cells per millimeter of ejaculate semen.
Urinalysis is usually conducted on a man to search for traces of white blood cells-an indicator of infection. When urinalysis is conducted it can show the possible presence of semen in the urine-which is an indication of the possibility of a problem in ejaculating often referred to as retrograde ejaculation.
If after medical history, physical examination, and semen analysis of the male partner are found to be okay, then the tests will now be shifted to the female partner because any more of male factor evaluation will not be that necessary.
Other Types of Male Infertility Testing
There are cases where additional laboratory and sperm analysis tests may be recommended for a particular man. They may include the following tests:
- Sperm penetration Assay – This involves a laboratory test that utilizes hamster eggs to ascertain the sperm’s ability to penetrate the egg. In most cases this kind of test is rarely used.
- Sperm Agglutination – This is a kind of laboratory test which involves the examination of sperm under the microscope to find out if the sperm are clumped together. When sperm clump together, the ability to swim through the cervical mucus is greatly hampered.
- Acrosome Reaction – This is a kind of laboratory testing that helps to determine if the sperm head is able to withstand the chemical changes that are needed in the dissolution of the egg’s tough outer shell.
- Hemizona Assay – This is a kind of laboratory test that involves using a non-usable human egg that is usually cut into two halves. The procedure is usually done to try and find out if the sperm is able to penetrate the outermost layer that protects the egg.
- Hypo-osmotic Swelling – This is a kind of laboratory test that uses a special kind of sugar and salt solution to test the sperm’s tail and its ability to penetrate the egg. Healthy sperm tails usually swell in the solution while those of dead or abnormal sperm usually don’t swell.
- Vasogrphy – The procedure involves the use of an X – ray exam to examine if there is any blockage or a possible leakage of sperm in the vas deference.
- Ultrosonography – This is a kind of exam that is used to find damage or blockages in the reproductive tract of the man which includes the prostate, seminal vesicle, and ejaculatory ducts.
- Testicular Biopsy – This procedure involves the removal of a small piece of tissue from the tubules of the testes for examination of how sperm are produced.
It is important that couples who are not able to conceive for a period of one year or more go for infertility testing to find out the cause of the problem.
In the past it was assumed that if a couple was not able to bear children then automatically the woman was the one responsible. This belief was incorrect and discriminatory towards women because even men have infertility problems that may prevent a couple from having babies.
There is a number of fertility testing procedures that men with infertility problems can be subjected to for a solution to be found for them.