Diagnosis of Male Infertility

Infertility is not just a disease that affects women—men suffer as well. Both women and men can have problems that cause infertility.

Common causes of Male Infertility:

  • Varicoceles
  • Low quantity or poor quality of sperm
  • Genetic diseases
  • Malformed sperm
  • Cancer treatment
  • Trauma to the testes
  • Hormonal disorders
  • Unhealthy lifestyle (heavy use of alcohol, smoking, recreational drug)
Man sitting on couch in deep thought

Fertility Testing for Males

Semen Analysis: Semen analysis is often the first test recommended for diagnostic male infertility. Semen is the fluid that is released when a man has an orgasm. Semen carries the sperm in fluids that should nourish and protect it.

Semen sample is collected via patient masturbation into a sterile jar. If masturbation is not culturally acceptable, your doctor can provide you with a special condom in which to collect semen during intercourse.

The semen analysis provides a lot of information about the quantity and quality of both semen and the sperm it contains.

Male Hormone Levels and Reproduction

Important chemicals in your body, called hormones, control sperm production. They also affect your interest in sex and your ability to have sex. Too much or too little of these hormones can cause problems with sperm production or trouble having sex.

Two important hormones for reproduction are Follicle-Stimulating Hormone (FSH) and Testosterone (T). Your doctor may do blood work to check to see if you have the right amount of these hormones. If indicated, your doctor may check other hormone levels including Luteinizing Hormone (LH), Estradiol (E2), and Prolactin (PRL).

Supplementary Diagnostic Testing

Further evaluations may be advised if semen analysis results show abnormal finding:

  • Vital Staining: Determines if enough sperm in the semen sample are alive
  • Antisperm Antibodies: Determines if antibodies have attached to the sperm causing difficulty for the sperm to move properly
  • Peroxidase Staining and Semen Culture: Tests for infection or inflammation that may affect your semen
  • Sperm DNA Testing: Assesses fragility of sperm DNA
  • Genetic Testing:
    • Sperm aneuploidy
    • Chromosome Analysis and/or Y Chromosome Microdeletion Deletion
    • Testicular biopsy

Patients with suspected male infertility will likely be referred to a urologist.