Fertility Tests for Male Infertility
Various fertility tests will be ordered by the infertility specialist to rule out the common causes of infertility. The causes of infertility can be complex, and often both partners require evaluation and treatment. In fact, one of the most valuable fertility tests is a semen analysis, as nearly half of all infertile couples have a male infertility component. The majority of these fertility tests are performed at our Dallas Fertility Center. Reproduction requires many complex processes to occur correctly; fertility tests examine these processes.
A semen analysis is used to evaluate the quantity and quality of sperm in a given semen sample. It should be noted that medication, drugs, extremes of temperature, or viral illness within the past three months could affect the results of the semen analysis. These factors must be considered when evaluating the sperm, and sometimes it is necessary to repeat the test.
The semen analysis is one of the most important fertility tests available. Some degree of male infertility is present in nearly half of infertile couples. No treatment of the female will be successful in the absence of enough quality sperm.
Sperm are carefully evaluated using the Kruger Strict Criteria. Many of the measurements are qualitative and best interpreted by a reproductive medicine laboratory. Our andrology technicians have extensive experience evaluating the many characteristics of semen that denote male infertility.
The semen is usually evaluated for the following:
- Volume (amount of fluid that makes up the semen, usually expressed in milliliters)
- Sperm concentration (number of sperm in a standard given volume)
- Motility (percent of sperm that are moving when the semen is examined under the microscope)
- Progression (forward movement)
- Sperm morphology (percentage of sperm with normal form and shapes)
A semen analysis is conducted using a semen specimen freshly collected by masturbation into a sterile cup provided by the Andrology Lab. Lubricants, saliva and condoms are best avoided when collecting the specimen. The male should abstain from intercourse or ejaculation for two to four days prior to the collection. The sample may be obtained in a private room at the Andrology Lab, or it can be brought from home if the time from collection to arrival in our laboratory is less than one hour. If collected off-site, the sample should remain at body temperature during transport. The entire ejaculate should be collected to get the most accurate results. Results are usually available within one-two days.
Antisperm Antibody Testing
Antisperm antibody testing is done to rule out the presence of antisperm antibodies in the semen, which can impede sperm function and cause male infertility. This immunologic cause is usually diagnosed when 50 percent or more of motile sperm are found to be coated with antibodies in at least one semen sample. Risk factors for developing antisperm antibodies include a history of testicular injury, torsion, undescended testes, vasectomy reversal, or infection. An immunobead test is usually performed to find out the type and amount of antibodies in the semen. The antisperm antibody test is performed by appointment in the Andrology Laboratory.