For couples faced with infertility, the female partner is often suspected of having a fertility problem. However, her male partner may also have a fertility issue that needs to be addressed.
The tests for diagnosing male infertility begin with a general physical exam and medical history. This includes a genital examination as well as questions about family medical history, chronic diseases, injuries, or previous surgeries. Also, the physician will ask about the man’s complete sexual history, practices, as well as development.
The doctor may also order a semen analysis. Once collected, the semen is sent to a laboratory to determine how many sperm are present, and also to look for any abnormalities in their morphology and motility. The semen is also examined for signs of infection. Sperm counts may vary from one specimen to the next, even if they came from the same patient, so several semen analysis tests are done over a period of time to ensure accurate results. If the sperm analysis is normal, then the female partner should undergo testing. Normal sperm may be candidates for in-vitro fertilization.
Further male infertility tests include some of the exams listed below:
- Scrotal ultrasound. This non-invasive test is used to visualize any obstructions in the male reproductive tract, the testes and other supporting structures within the scrotum.
- Transrectal ultrasound. A small, lubricated wand is inserted into the rectum, and allows visualization of the prostate. The ejaculatory ducts and seminal vesicles can also be evaluated for blockage or other anomalies.
- Blood examination. Blood examination is a key factor in diagnosing male infertility. Abnormalities in other hormonal or organ systems may also contribute to infertility. Also, genetic testing can be performed on a blood sample provided by the patient. Any congenital or hereditary diseases relevant to infertility would show up through genetic testing.
- Post-ejaculation urinalysis. The presence of sperm in a man’s urine can indicate that the sperm are traveling backward instead of forward. This is known as retrograde ejaculation, and is easily identified via urinalysis.
- Testicular biopsy. This test involves removing samples from the testicle with a needle. The biopsy results will reveal whether sperm production is normal.
- Anti-sperm antibody tests. These tests are used to check for an immune response that targets sperm. Men who have had a vasectomy reversal are especially likely to have anti-sperm antibodies.
- Specialized sperm function tests. These tests evaluate how well sperm survive after ejaculation, as well as their ability to penetrate an egg, as well as attach to it.
Infertility in the Philippines is an important issue for couples trying to start a family, and many wonder what tests are available at hospitals, health centers and local fertility clinics to help them find out what stands in the way between them and starting a family.