Diagnosing Male Infertility
If a doctor suspects male infertility, he may run some tests to make a definitive diagnosis. Your partner may first undergo a routine physical exam and semen analysis. The semen analysis will analyze the number of available sperm, the shape of the sperm and its movement.
You may not be required to do all the tests, but this varies from individual to individual. Some of the tests that you be asked to undergo include:
- Semen Analysis: Semen analysis is the first and crucial test in determining fertility in men. It is done after an abstinence period of 2 – 5 days.
- Blood & Serological tests: Serological tests are must-do, to ensure that you are infection-free. We also study your blood to check the levels of hormones such as testosterone, FSH, Inhibin etc. This is usually done if there are abnormalities in the semen analysis.
- Local Examination: This involves an anatomical examination, and is often followed by Scrotal Ultrasound and Doppler. This gives us an insight on any anatomical abnormalities such as undescended testes, any maturation issues, varicocele, and any obstruction in the semen pathway.
- Testicular Mapping: We use this non-surgical technique to detect sperm in the testicles of men who have poor sperm production (non-obstructive azoospermia).
- Testicular Biopsy: If your semen analysis shows no sperm, a testicular biopsy is be done to evaluate whether there is sperm in the testicles. The procedure involves taking a small sample from the testicles under local anesthesia, and helps to determine whether the lack of sperm is caused by a blockage or low sperm production.
- Anti-sperm Antibody Test: This test checks to see if your body produces antibodies that affect your sperm’s motility and/or viability.
- Sperm DNA Fragmentation: The Sperm DNA fragmentation test looks at the quality of the DNA within the sperm. High levels of DNA fragmentation is a key cause of ‘unexplained infertility’, recurrent miscarriage and failed IUI or IVF cycles.
- Karyotyping: This genetic test analyses chromosomes and evaluates chromosomal anomalies that could result in impaired semen parameters.