FERTILITY TESTS FOR MEN
The moment one is planning for a baby, fertility and problems related to fertility become the hot-button issues. This is a topic that has been widely discussed, in order to help more and more individuals become aware of the situation and deal with it in a timely manner.
While the common idea is that infertility is a condition that occurs only in women, it should not be surprising if one gets to hear that men can contribute to infertility as well. Today, more and more fertility challenges are being identified as being due to the male partner. Infertility due to men is seen in about 40% of infertility cases according to research. But it is not something that cannot be addressed. There does exist a treatment or a strategy to resolve most issues, if treatment is sought early.
Men with fertility issues need to understand that it is a common problem and there is absolutely no need to be apprehensive about it. First and foremost, when a woman fails to get pregnant, one needs to know if there is a problem related to fertility in the male counterpart or in the woman. A number of fertility tests have been devised to detect these problems.
The procedure could begin with a general physical exam to understand the general health condition, past medical history, lifestyle, or whether on any chronic medications. Certain specific tests would next be recommended to map out the underlying cause precisely.
What are the fertility tests for men?
Blood tests for hormone levels: LH (Luteinizing hormone), FSH (Follicle-stimulating hormone), and Testosterone are hormones in men that are responsible for the production of sperm and sexual development. It is therefore important for these normal to be at normal levels. So, a blood test could be recommended to examine the levels of these hormones.
Semen and sperm analysis: A sample of semen (ejaculatory fluid) is taken to test and analyze the morphology, motility, and concentration of the sperm in the semen. A normal count should be approximately 15 million per 1 ml of semen. Along with this, a set of other parameters are evaluated in the semen sample to identify any other anomalies.
Genetic testing: Low concentration of sperm in semen analysis could be indicative of a genetic condition leading to infertility. A genetic study could help figure out if there is abnormal DNA, which could in turn cause abnormal sperm function and thereby reduce fertility. There are many new tests that are also carried out if needed – DNA fragmentation index to identify if the DNA material is damaged or intact, Karyotyping – to identify and gene abnormalities etc.
Scrotal ultrasound: This is a test that uses ultrasound waves to create images of the scrotum that contains testicles and these images are displayed on the computer screen and results are interpreted. This test helps detect any abnormality of the testicles such as:
Injury to the testicles.
Dilation or swelling of veins in the scrotum (varicocele).
Size of the testicles.
Testicular torsion (twisting of the testicle).
Tumours or cysts in the scrotum.
Absence of testicle.
Testing for anti-sperm antibodies: Sometimes men can produce abnormal antibodies that can attack the sperm when trying to reach the egg, and this can prevent a woman from getting pregnant.
Post ejaculatory urine analysis: A test for the presence of sperm in urine to identify any ejaculatory issues such as retrograde ejaculation.
Test for erectile dysfunction (ED): The test includes a careful examination of the external male genitalia to check for sensation. There could also be other underlying health conditions like cardiac disease or diabetes that could be causing ED. A blood sample could also be taken to identify any such condition.
Sooner the care, better the outcome. Every day counts. It is therefore important to not delay fertility testing and treatment (if required).
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