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Video:How to Test Fertility in Men

with Dr. Ingrid Rodi

Testing fertility for men is important for couples who are considering pregnancy. Watch this About.com video to learn more about the process of testing fertility for men.See Transcript

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Transcript:How to Test Fertility in Men

Hi, I'm Dr. Ingrid Rodi and I am a specialist in reproductive endocrinology and infertility with RodiMD.com. Today I am here on behalf of About.com to talk to you about how to test fertility in men. 

Preliminary Fertility Tests for Men

I advise all couples who are considering pregnancy, to see their healthcare provider for preconception counseling. That visit includes the history, a physical exam, and blood work. The goal is to identify issues which can make getting pregnant difficult.  In the man, the history focuses on medical problems like diabetes and hypertension. Sexual function is also evaluated, as it is necessary to determine if intercourse is possible and with what frequency. Medications are evaluated to determine if they are safe for the sperm.

Examinations in Fertility Tests for Men

Upon questioning, some report that they are taking testosterone supplementation. Testosterone can reduce the sperm count, so it must be stopped if the man is attempting to impregnate his wife. The physical exam looks for normal secondary sex characteristics such as male pattern hair growth. The man is measured to determine if his proportions are normal. In addition, his genitals are examined. A semen analysis is usually done from a sperm specimen obtained by the man via masturbation. It looks for the number of sperm present, how well they move, and if they look normal. Blood work tests for hormones and general health.

Addressing Problems in Fertility Tests for Men

If the man is found to have a problem, additional testing can be done. If no sperm are found in the ejaculate, the urologist attempts to determine if there is any sperm production or if the sperm are blocked from exiting the body. This can be done with a testicular biopsy or aspiration of the vas deferens. Men who have very low sperm counts can often still become fathers. Their wives have eggs removed and they are fertilized with his sperm via a procedure known as Intracytoplasmic sperm injection—ICSI for short. Introduction of this procedure has helped many couples where a male factor is the issue, have the children they desire. In some cases pregnancy doesn't result and the couple goes on to use donated sperm.

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