Male fertility test – this is how you check your ability to conceive children
The problem of involuntary childlessness is quite acute for many couples. Every sixth couple would like to have children, but with no success. In about half of all cases, it is actually the men who are responsible. For women, there is an incredible number of transparent and generally known ways to analyze their fertility.
But in this respect, what is the situation for men? How can he test his fertility? The fact is that there is a whole range of possibilities for them to get to the bottom of the question “Why infertile?
Here we have compiled a list of examination methods that you can use to find your way around a very complex topic.
Why am I infertile? The urologist’s test
The answers to the question “Why infertile?” can be complex and multi-layered. A pure semen analysis is often not enough. Therefore, it is advisable to first consult a specialist who will not only examine you but also ask crucial questions about your medical history and lifestyle.
Possible reasons for a – perhaps only temporary – inability to conceive can include taking drugs, previous operations or an unhealthy lifestyle. In addition, a good general practitioner will also be able to identify problems in partnership and sexual behavior.
Another problem may be varicocele – an abnormal vein formation above the testicle. This can be corrected by surgery, for example. The first test with a urologist – as experience reports show – is in most cases the first step on the way to testing his inability to conceive.
3 Facts You Should Know About the Infertility Test
1. How to test?
The most commonly used male fertility test is a so-called semen analysis. This gives your doctor a basis for assessing your sperm production. The semen analysis shows how many sperm a man has in his semen, how “normal” they are, how mobile they are and whether they are moving in the right direction. A very interesting fact: only 15 percent of all men with fertility problems have enough and sufficient “normal” sperm.
2. What role does sperm production play?
According to figures, this is as follows: Laboratory analysts make sure that at least 50 to 60 percent of the sperm cells are normally shaped and that they are white to grey and have an opalescent color. They also judge whether the sperm moves normally or not one hour after ejaculation – the total movement of spermatozoa is evaluated on a scale of zero to four. In addition, technicians verify that the sample has a normal pH value between 7.2 and 7.8. The volume of ejaculate should be between 1.5 and 5.0 milliliters and the number of sperm between 20 and 200 million per milliliter.
3. You can also test anonymously at home – how high are the costs?
In order to be able to test anonymously and to reduce fertility test costs, many people try to avoid the necessary laboratory tests and prefer to test at home.
They use semen analyses, which work like pregnancy tests and cost between 20 and 100 euros in every pharmacy. A test stick is placed in a fresh ejaculate and this then indicates whether you have more or less than 20 million sperm per milliliter.
Home fertility tests are a good way to test anonymously and to save costs. Admittedly, they can also satisfy an initial curiosity, but are by no means a qualified substitute for a serious laboratory semen analysis.
Other tests that you can use to find the cause of your infertility
How does the hormone test work?
Sperm production is determined by hormones such as testosterone. You should, however, also know the necessary facts about testosterone. Hormones are the reason for the infertility of only 3 percent of infertile men. And the other way round, a normal hormone level does not mean that there is no fertility problem. To be on the safe side, however, you should also test the reasons for your inability to reproduce and check whether the following numbers are in the “green zone”.
FSH is the abbreviation for follicle stimulating hormone, which is mainly responsible for sperm production. Its normal values are between 5 and 10 mlU/ml (milliliters of international units per milliliter). The other important hormone is the male sex hormone testosterone. Here the normal range is 300 to 1,100 nanograms per deciliter.
The gene tests – further reasons for possible infertility
There are several reasons for infertility that originate from genetic dysfunctions. These include, for example, the production of abnormal antibodies that attack and damage sperm on its way into the female body. There is also the problem of backward ejaculation, where sperm enters the bladder the wrong way.
Some have damaged or non-existent spermatic ducts, which can also have genetic causes. And natural genes are also responsible for all processes of fertilization. That is why genetic tests are very common when it comes to finding the reasons for a man’s inability to conceive.
DNA analysis examines problems with individual genes in your DNA and gives you more detailed information about which gene is responsible for which function and whether it works naturally. Humans have a variety of genes that are related to fertility in some way, and new research is constantly being done into their functions.
Different genes affect different areas of fertility. For example, TAS2R60 is a gene believed to play an important role in sperm finding the egg. Whilst ID3 is important for embryo development.
Another problem that can occur within genetics is – as statistics and experience reports show – so-called DNA fragmentation. The sperm DNA can have damaged or broken DNA fragments, which in turn could be the reason for your infertility. The not so unproblematic “DNA fragmentation” is actually found in 5 percent of all infertile men with normal semen analysis and 25 percent of all infertile men with abnormal semen analysis.
Less frequently used test options
In addition to medical evaluation, sperm analysis and DNA testing, there are very few fertility studies that are carried out regularly. These include the search for specific antibodies that attach themselves to the sperm, obstruct it on its way to the egg, lump the sperm together or prevent it from entering the egg.
We hope to have given you an overview of the most common possible test methods. As a first step we recommend the anonymous home test. If this is negative, you should not be discouraged. Go to your urologist and get a detailed examination. The cause may be somewhere else. Professional help is advisable in this case.