3 Ways Your Doctor Checks For Male-Factor Infertility: Building Your Family With ART

Infertility Isn’t Just A Female Problem

More often than not, when the topic of infertility is raised, people automatically think the subject solely relates to women. However, this mindset is short-sighted and incorrect. A third of infertility cases are attributed to problems with the male partner, a third to female reproductive issues, and the final third to both parties. With such odds, when infertility is suspected, both men and women must be evaluated to determine the cause. If a man is suspected to be infertile, don’t be surprised if the following methods are used for investigation.

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Male infertility causes

Just like in women, male-factor infertility can either have a cause or be classified as unexplained. The latter diagnosis simply means that after testing, no known reason can be found to contribute to an inability for a couple to conceive. However, sometimes underlying physical conditions or previous medical treatments can cause infertility. For example, a blockage in the testes can prevent sperm from exiting. Likewise, medical interventions like chemotherapy can cause temporary or permanent sterility. Fertility specialists may use the following tests to determine the reason for male infertility.

1. Physical exams

Sometimes infertility has obvious causes, such as a physical impairment that makes conception difficult. For example, sexual issues like erectile dysfunction (ED) can make achieving and maintaining an erection difficult. In turn, effectively getting a woman pregnant would be progressively harder for a man with this condition. Likewise, abnormalities with the blood vessels in the testicles or an issue with penile ducts can cause blockages or poor semen production.

2. Semen analysis

If physical ailments aren’t an obvious contributing factor to infertility, a man should expect to provide a semen sample. Doing so will allow specialists to examine and review the sperm to determine quality and quantity. Depending on whether underlying conditions are present, the sample may be provided through traditional in-office methods or a procedure that extracts semen directly from the testicles. Specialists will review the quantity and motility and determine whether abnormalities like deformities are present. Poor sperm is a common cause of male-factor infertility. Note that several samples may be necessary for this exam.

3. Hormone testing

Similar to women, the male reproductive system is also regulated by hormones. While women have several hormones that can influence fertility, the primary concern with men is usually testosterone. However, sometimes issues with the pituitary gland, testes, or hypothalamus can lead to hormonal imbalances that manifest as a failure to conceive.

Treating male-factor infertility

Thanks to assisted reproductive therapy (ART), infertility doesn’t have to stop hopeful couples who desire a baby. Depending on the severity of a man’s condition, solutions such as intrauterine insemination (IUI) or in vitro fertilization (IVF) can still allow a couple to get pregnant. Likewise, opting for donor sperm can be another solution. Men who suspect a problem when trying to conceive should consult a physician to schedule an exam.

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