Approximately 40% of all fertility problems couples face are associated with male fertility. Many men who are otherwise in perfect condition generate sperm of low quality, and they may also have other health problems, such as low levels of male sex hormones.
Suppose your doctor suspects that you may have a reproductive issue. In that case, they may perform a comprehensive history and physical exam on you in addition to several different tests to determine what factors may contribute to your fertility problems.
What is Male Infertility?
The inability of a man to father a child is the primary indicator of male infertility. There might not be any additional noticeable indications or symptoms.
However, in certain situations, the signs and symptoms are caused by an underlying ailment such as an inherited disorder, a hormonal imbalance, dilated veins around the testicle, or a condition that prevents sperm from moving freely. Among the signs and symptoms, you could observe the following:
- Sexual dysfunction — for example, difficulty with ejaculation or small volumes of fluid ejaculated, reduced sexual desire, or difficulty maintaining an erection (erectile dysfunction)
- Symptoms include pain, swelling, or a lump in the area surrounding the testicles
- Frequent occurrence of respiratory infections
- Inability to smell
- Abnormal breast growth (gynecomastia)
- Hair loss on the face or body or other symptoms of a chromosomal or hormonal disorder
- A sperm count that is significantly lower than what is considered normal
The production of sperm is regulated by a group of chemicals in your body that are referred to as hormones. In addition, they influence your desire to have sexual encounters and your ability to do so. Problems with producing sperm or having sexual activity can be brought on by either an excess or a deficiency in either of these hormones.
What health problems can cause male infertility?
The absence of the vas deferens or seminal vesicles might result in infertility due to genetic disorders. Numerous medical conditions can lead to infertility. You and your partner best provide your doctor with detailed accounts of your personal and family medical histories.
How to Test Your Fertility?
The causes of male infertility are not always easy to pinpoint. Most of the time, issues arise when trying to produce or deliver sperm. First, a doctor must take a thorough medical history and complete a physical examination. Your doctor may also recommend blood testing and sperm tests.
History and Physical Exam
You and your partner must provide your doctor with detailed accounts of your respective health and family histories. You might expect your doctor to ask about your medical and surgical history. Your healthcare professional may ask you about any factors affecting your fertility. Defects in your reproductive system, low hormone levels, illness, and accidents can all play a role.
Your doctor will want to know about any illnesses you had as a kid, current conditions, or medications you take that could affect sperm. Various factors, including measles, diabetes, and steroid use, could be affected by infertility.
Your doctor may also inquire about smoking cigarettes, cannabis, and other substances. They'll want to know about it if you've been around radiation, heavy metals, or pesticides—the dangers of exposure to heavy metals (e.g. mercury, lead arsenic). Any one of these factors may have an impact on a couple's ability to conceive.
In addition, your doctor will want to know about your and your partner's efforts to conceive. For instance, they might inquire if you've ever struggled with getting or maintaining an erection.
The semen analysis test reveals a wealth of data regarding the sperm's amount and quality. Infertility specialists typically perform a semen test to evaluate semen volume, sperm concentration, sperm vitality (per cent alive), sperm movement (motility), and sperm shape (morphology).
The analysis may also determine whether or not you have an infection in your reproductive system. It is required that the sample of sperm be tested within an hour of it being collected, which often takes place at the doctor's office.
When evaluating sperm, it's best to use a sample that was ejaculated within the past hour. Masturbation is the best method for collecting a semen sample for analysis in a specimen jar. Typically, this is done in a private area of your doctor's office or testing laboratory.
When collecting semen at home, the sample must be kept warm and delivered to the lab as soon as possible, ideally within an hour. There may be easier ways to collect semen than this, so if you find it challenging, discuss it with your doctor to find alternatives.
Do your best to protect the semen samples from being misplaced. Most sperm are found in the first few drops of ejaculate; therefore, wasting those drops may give the impression that the sperm count is lower than it is. It would help if you held off on ejaculating for at least two days before the sample is taken, but no more than seven days.
How to Get Male Infertility Testing?
Other factors can affect fertility, so a good semen test result is no guarantee of a successful pregnancy. Even with a meagre sperm count, it is possible to conceive a child naturally.
Several factors can influence a couple's ability to conceive a child, such as the frequency and timing of the couple's sexual activity, the amount of time the couple has spent trying to have a child, and the age of the female partner and her fertility. The results of your sperm analysis need to be considered in conjunction with any other relevant clinical data by your doctor.
Remember that infertility can impact anybody, and while it is a frustrating problem, some solutions can help you realise your dream of becoming a parent. Do not be afraid to check your fertility, and don't wait to be tested. It will be easier for you and your partner to figure out what's happening and allow you to learn about treatment options.