Male Infertility - Diagnosis
Diagnosis can involve a medical history from the man and a physical examination along with a semen analysis to check the number, shape and movement of sperm in the ejaculation. Blood tests may also be done to check the levels of hormones that control sperm production. Genetic investigations and testicular biopsies may also be done. To diagnose male infertility, the following routine checks will be done as per clinical history:
- A proper study of the patient’s medical and surgical history is necessary.
- The testes and sex organs are examined physically to see how well they are developed.
- The patient’s developmental history is also studied to check whether there were any early or late puberty problems.
- The doctor may ask whether if they have biologically fathered a child before.
- It is important to know the time of sexual intercourse.
- Any history of sexually transmitted diseases must be shared.
- If the patient uses lubricants during sexual intercourse, it may kill some sperms.
- A semen analysis will be prescribed. Generally, three semen samples are taken at different times to understand the exact quality of sperms.
- Azoospermia is the absence of sperm in the semen. Men with normal reproductive tracts and hormone systems can have azoospermia due to a lack of sperm-producing tissue or an obstruction in the testes.
- Blood tests identify disorders that impair testosterone and sperm production.
Infertility can be stressful for couples. Complications related to male infertility may include the following:
- surgery or other procedures to treat an underlying cause of low sperm count or other reproductive problems;
- expensive reproductive techniques;
- strain in relationship due to the inability to have a child;
- infertility in both partners may complicate the treatment;
- severe infertility or infertility for more than three years is more difficult to treat;
- advancing age may cause a sense of urgency about the treatment;
- failure in treatment can cause frustration, resentment, a feeling of inadequacy, anger, guilt and marital problems; and
- time and financial costs of fertility treatment may cause an additional burden.