The bane of infertility is mostly attributed to women, but male can be infertile too. In fact, it has been observed that about 40% of infertility cases are a result of male infertility. Of these about 20% cases can be solely attributed to male infertility and the rest can be attributed to semblance of infertility in both man and woman. In general couples should be tested for infertility if the woman cannot get pregnant even after one year of regular unprotected sex.
Firstly, the woman’s fertility is evaluated using various testing methods. However, if that does not throw much light on the aspect of infertility of the woman then the male partner also needs to be evaluated for the same.
Male Fertility Test
There may be several dimensions in male fertility like that in case of female infertility. Let us go through the tests that are generally conducted on men to evaluate their infertility.
1} Semen analysis
A semen analysis is usually the first fertility test for men. To get near perfect result semen sample is usually collected two weeks apart. This is because of the fact that semen quality may vary from time to time. If sample is taken two weeks apart then there is a chance to get to the mean value of various parameters to be tested. In this analysis the semen is tested for sperm count, sperm morphology, sperm motility (movement) and other properties.
The thumb rule for fertility is that those with good number of sperms with normal morphology are highly fertile. But this does not mean that men with low sperm count or sperm with some abnormality in shape are infertile. In fact there are so many men who have low sperm count and abnormality in sperm architecture, but are fertile. There is a striking observation that shows that about 15% of infertile men have good count of sperm with normal morphology.
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2} Hormonal levels test
If the findings of the semen analysis indicate that there is a dearth of virility in the sperm, then the doctor may go for a hormonal test. A hormonal test for men includes test for FSH, LH, Prolactin and testosterone, the male hormone. FSH and LH are two hormones that are responsible for triggering the production of sperm. If the findings of the test indicate low levels of these hormones then the doctor will try to find out the reason for that. Low levels of FSH and LH may be due to some inherent problem of the pituitary gland. Both FSH and LH are secreted by the pituitary gland. So if there is any problem with this gland the levels of FSH and LH will come down.
Normally both FSH and LH will be low and not just one of them. However, isolated finding of deficiency in either LH or FSH is not very uncommon. Whether it is an isolated deficiency for one hormone or both, it indicates some abnormality with the hypothalamus or the pituitary gland. So the doctor would probably like to evaluate you from that perspective too, if he finds that the hormonal levels are abnormal.
Medical Treatment for Low Hormonal Levels
If no serious problem is found with the glands then the doctor may go for supportive therapy for the glands. A supportive therapy for glands involves providing proper nutrition to it. Essential fatty acids, minerals, proteins etc are some of the nutritional elements that the hypothalamus and the pituitary glands need in order to produce the hormones. There are herbs too that can help you to achieve some kind of order in the production of FSH and LH. However, the doctor may also prescribed drugs to stimulate the glands to produce more of these hormones.
Other tests and treatments
Some men are known to converge on abnormal antibodies which attack the sperm making their way towards the egg. This prevents your partner from being pregnant. In case of other guys generation of sperm is not a problem, it is all about the sperm going to the right spot. Men in such cases have normal levels of sperms in their testicles but when it comes to the sperm in the semen it is a strict no. it is an abnormal situation or is low in terms of numbers.
To conclude, fertility test for men are a standard norm in modern times. Before a couple plans for a baby it would be a sensible option to opt for one. Fertility could arise from the above mentioned reasons and early detection solves the problem.
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