When a couple has trouble getting pregnant, quite often the woman sees her gynecologist to undergo exams and tests. But in fact, nearly half of all couples struggling to conceive in the U.S. are having problems due wholly or partially to male infertility, according to WebMD. Fertility in men is not often discussed because, quite frankly, it’s an embarrassing topic. But if you’re struggling to conceive a child with your partner, it would be in your best interests to undergo fertility testing. It’s also recommended that you become an informed patient.
Over-the-counter tests for male fertility
Fertility testing for men has benefited from advances in recent years. In fact, you can do a preliminary test in your own bathroom with the help of over-the-counter fertility tests for men. These tests are certainly not conclusive, however they can provide preliminary results without the necessity of visiting a doctor.
To use a male fertility test, mix a sample of your semen with the solution provided. Apply a few drops to the test strip. If the test strip shows an abnormal reading or the absence of sperm, consult your doctor. Even if the test strip shows the presence of sperm, it’s still a good idea to see your doctor if you and your partner continue to have problems conceiving.
Seeing your doctor
Your primary care physician may refer you to a urologist. Provide your medical history, including any surgeries you might have had and any medications or supplements you take. Discuss your lifestyle habits, such as your exercise schedule, smoking, and drug use. Be frank when discussing your lifestyle habits; this will aid the doctor’s diagnosis. Discuss your sexual health. Disclose any previous sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) and any other problems, including erectile dysfunction.
Expect the doctor to conduct a physical exam. He will check testicular size and look for varicoceles, which are the abnormal formations of veins located above the testicles. This problem is quite common in cases of male infertility, and it may be corrected with surgery.
In addition to the physical exam, you will also be asked to provide a semen sample. You may do so at the doctor’s office or at a nearby location. A semen analysis will be conducted on the sample. The lab technician will check the sperm count and examine the shape and movement of the sperm. If the results show normal, healthy sperm, the doctor may order a second test to confirm that there are no fertility problems.
Numerous medical issues may result in male infertility. Your doctor will discuss the results of the exam and the analysis with you. Male infertility may be caused by a physical obstruction that blocks sperm, the absence of the vas deferens (the “pipe” that transports sperm), or anti-sperm antibodies that attack the sperm. It can also be caused by retrograde ejaculation, which occurs when the ejaculate moves backwards into the bladder. Talk to your doctor about treatment options.
Read more in our Low T Health Center.
Read more in our Erectile Dysfunction Health Center.