What Is A Male Fertility Test?
Discussions about fertility often focus on a woman’s reproductive capabilities or roadblocks to conception. But men also play an important role in conception. Infertility due solely to women’s issues accounts for only a third of all cases. Similarly, male infertility accounts for nearly 40% of reproductive challenges, while the final amount is due to issues with both members of a heterosexual couple. But what can a man expect when undergoing a fertility test?
Don’t be surprised to get a physical
While semen analysis is one of the most prioritized parts of a male fertility test, other factors are also important. Beyond collecting a semen sample, don’t be surprised to get a physical too. Along with checking for overall health, the physical exam will also focus on the current physical state of the genitals. The physician will look for any physical abnormalities in the genitals which could indicate a problem.
A chat about overall health
Studies have shown that poor health directly impacts fertility. So, physicians performing a male fertility evaluation will ask the patient about general health, any medical conditions, sex life, and lifestyle habits. Questions can also include determining if a man frequently drinks alcohol or uses illicit substances. A physician will also ask if a man has ever been diagnosed with a sexually transmitted infection (STI) or undergone surgery in the past. Many STIs are directly linked with reducing fertility, so the question is important and should be answered honestly.
Giving a urine sample
Sometimes traditional semen analysis can miss some sperm issues. As an added precaution, male fertility exams will usually include a urinalysis. Urinalysis simply means that a man will be asked to provide a urine sample at some point during the exam. The urine sample allows technicians to detect specific biomarkers that are more precise in identifying potential causes for infertility in men that are often missed when a semen analysis is the only benchmark used.
Just like with women, men can carry genes that might make fertility difficult or could pose an issue for future children. Men concerned about carrying genes for certain conditions or diseases shouldn’t be afraid to ask a physician to also include genetic testing as a diagnostic when taking a blood sample.
Don’t fear the evaluation
While fertility can be a tough topic to discuss, men shouldn’t fear a fertility evaluation. Often the exam takes no more than an hour and can help provide clarity if a couple has been struggling to conceive. Often, physicians will encourage men to bring the partner to provide additional clarity and for moral support. Men who are considering fertility testing should speak with a physician or fertility specialist to schedule an appointment and understand the next steps.