What are Types of Male Infertility Testing?
A semen analysis is the first step in the medical evaluation of a male’s fertility. The patient is requested to produce a specimen at the in-office andrology laboratory. This analysis measures the number of sperm present in the ejaculate (sperm count); evaluates the shape and size (morphology); and measures the total volume and the percent of the sperm that are moving (motility). No significant white or red blood cells, sperm clumping and/or hyperviscosity should be present.
If no sperm are found in the semen analysis, an additional test for fructose may be done. The absence of fructose may mean either the vas deferens are obstructed at or before the ejaculatory ducts, or the seminal vesicles are absent. A blockage may be the result of infection, including sexually transmitted disease, injury, or previous surgery that could have scarred the delicate tubules of the epididymis or obstructed the vas deferens. Congenital absence of the vas deferens is often found in patients with cystic fibrosis.
Dead/Live Sperm Stain
If the motility of the semen analysis is less than 35%, this test is performed to confirm the presence of living sperm. In some cases sperm may show no progressive motility but still be alive. The presence of a large portion of “live” but immobile sperm may be an indicator of a structural defect in the sperm tail.
The immunobead test is used to detect antisperm antibodies. These can be found in the serum, seminal fluid, or directly on the sperm. Antisperm antibodies may be formed when sperm are exposed to the immune system. Antisperm antibodies commonly form in about 70% of men following a vasectomy. Other causes that break down the barriers in the testes, such as infection or trauma, also lead to production of antisperm antibodies.
Blood tests to measure circulating hormones can be performed to help reveal information about testicular function and causes of infertility. The pituitary hormones, FSH and LH, are both involved in the maintenance of sperm development and testosterone production. Prolactin and TSH, other pituitary hormones, also influences testosterone levels.
Retrograde Ejaculation Test
Retrograde ejaculation is a disorder that causes the semen to be released backward into the bladder during ejaculation. This condition may be congenital but also may be found in men with diabetes, multiple sclerosis, or who have had previous prostate surgery. It may be a side effect of certain medications, such as antidepressants and blood pressure medicine. Urine is collected and studied to determine if there is retrograde ejaculation present; if so, the sperm is evaluated.
Memphis Fertility Laboratory, Inc. and Fertility Associates of Memphis, PLLC offers a number of tests and procedures to diagnose and treat male infertility patients. These tests and procedures are collectively referred to as Andrology Services.
Many of the tests help to determine to what extent, if any, male factor infertility is present. The procedures offered may assist couples achieve pregnancy when male factors may be present.