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Fertility tests for men

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Infertility in men is one of the many reasons for not being able to conceive a baby. The problem basically lies in the sperm and to confirm it, men need to undergo fertility tests. Once the probable reasons behind infertility are diagnosed, it becomes simpler for a couple to figure out the solution of the problem.

The fertility tests for men are:

Sperm and Semen Analysis

Semen and sperm analysis helps determine the character of sperms which includes sperm count, motility, morphology and vitality.

For a fertile male, sperm concentration should be more than 15 million sperm / ml with motility rate more than half or precisely > 32% with forward progression. A deviation from the normal interpretation is an indicator of infertility.

Semen analysis is performed by collecting two or more specimens for accurate results. The semen is collected in a container by masturbation. The sample is sent to the laboratory for further analysis.

Sperm culture test is also recommended to detect infections.


Hormone testing

Hormone testing is done especially to determine the level of male hormone testosterone, which plays a key role in production of sperms and is required for sperm motility. Blood test may also be conducted for prolactin as elevated levels result in abnormal semen production.

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Sperm DNA fragmentation test

The genetic integrity of the sperm cells is essential for normal development of embryo in the blastocyst stage. Sperm DNA fragmentation test is conducted by staining the sperm with a fluorescent probe which can interact with the sperm DNA. Changes in the fluorescence signal in presence of fragmented DNA are monitored with a flow cytometer. The DNA Fragmentation Index (DFI) for a sub-fertile male is greater than 30%.

Although, a woman can become pregnant with sperm containing high percentage of fragmented DNA, she is vulnerable to miscarriage


Anti-Sperm Antibodies Test

This is a test for immunological infertility which happens when abnormal antibodies attack a man’s own sperms and prevents fertilization. This test is also known as Immunobead Test (IBT). Latex beads or immune beads treated with specific antibodies are mixed with the sperm and incubated for a certain period. If anti sperm antibodies are present in the sperm, then they will agglutinate (stick) with the latex beads.


Physical exam and imaging tests

A physical exam can be conducted manually for evaluation of varicocele and testicular abnormalities, which account to many cases of infertility.

If the doctor suspects physical abnormality in the reproductive organs, then ultrasound is usually recommended for confirmation. Transrectal and scrotal ultrasound would be performed to determine retrograde ejaculation, blockades in seminal vesicles, epididymis and vas deferens or for testicular irregularities.

Vasography is also a diagnostic test in whichan x-ray is performed to detect sperm blockage or leakage in the vas deferens.


Testicular Biopsy

Testicular Biopsy or Testicular Sperm Aspiration (TESA) is performed under anaesthesia. A sample of the testicle is aspirated with a special biopsy needle. The tissues are then sent to the laboratory to evaluate presence of sperm. TESA is usually conducted after abnormal reports have been found out in semen analysis.


Genetic screening

Since genetic defect also leads to male infertility, a screening may be done to find out the abnormality. It’s a blood test performed to evaluate the DNA or the genetic information of the concerned male. The reports can confirm presence of Y chromosome microdeletions, Klinefeltersyndrome, Cystic fibrosis and other types of chromosomal defects responsible for infertility.

Written by: healthplus24.com team
Date last updated: May 27, 2014

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