Men contribute half of the genetic makeup of an offspring through the sperm. However, this contribution may not be achieved if the man is infertile. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), infertility in males can result from a number of factors such as medical conditions, unhealthy habits, environmental toxins and varicoceles or enlargement and overheating of the testicles.
Male fertility testing is necessary to determine if a man is fertile and to address any problems should the man be infertile. Although a CBS News report from August 2013 quoted the CDC indicating that the rates of infertility in the United States are declining, it is important that you be prepared for any eventuality should you be required to undergo a fertility test.
This includes knowing the various tests that are conducted to determine whether a man is fertile or otherwise. Below are 10 tests.
- Medical history and general physical analysis
This encompasses examining the man’s genitals and inquiring about any hereditary conditions, illnesses, chronic diseases, surgeries or injuries that might have an impact on fertility. The doctor might also ask about the man’s sexual behavior and sexual development at puberty.
- Analysis of semen
The man can masturbate and ejaculate into a special container provided by the doctor. The semen is then analyzed in the laboratory to check for any abnormalities in the morphology (shape) and motility (movement) of the sperm.
- Ultrasound examination of the scrotum
This examination makes use of sound waves of high frequency to create images of internal body organs. Ultrasound imaging of the scrotum can help your doctor to determine if there are problems such as varicocele or any other in the testicles and associated structures.
- Analysis of sperm in urine after ejaculation
This can help determine if the sperms are travelling backwards into the bladder rather than out of the penis when an ejaculation is made.
- Hormone testing
Hormones that are produced by the testicles, hypothalamus and pituitary gland play an important function in sperm production and sexual development. Malfunctions in an organ or hormonal systems can contribute to infertility. Such problems can be detected using hormone tests.
- Genetic analysis
A very low sperm count may be caused by genetic influences. Testing of blood can establish whether there is a slight change in the Y chromosome, which is an indication of a genetic deformity.
- Transrectal ultrasound
In this procedure, a tiny, lubricated rod is inserted into the rectum. It enables the doctor to examine the prostate and check for any obstruction to the semen-carrying tubes.
- Specialized tests for sperm function
Several tests can be applied to check how well sperms are able to survive after ejaculation, the extent to which they are able to make their way into an egg, and whether there is any problem with respect to getting attached to an egg. Overall, specialized tests are rarely performed and in most cases do not have a significant impact on recommendations regarding treatment.