Fertility Blog

Male Factor Infertility Testing Explained

So much time, energy, research and funding are spent on treatment options and services for female infertility – yet, male infertility contributes 30% of cases where couples are unable to conceive. With so much attention paid to the female side of infertility treatment and care, it’s easy for a male issue to go unnoticed. At Washington Fertility Center, we know that a key part of diagnosis and treatment is for patients to be fully educated on what they can expect on their journey to become parents. This includes male factor infertility testing and diagnosis, which is explained in further detail below.

Complete Semen Analysis

A semen analysis is likely to be the first approach a fertility specialist takes when male factor infertility is suspected. The semen analysis is very important as it will reveal if the man’s sperm is the reason his partner and he are unable to conceive. A semen analysis reveals sperm count, sperm motility, sperm progression, semen volume and liquefaction of the semen, as well as the size/shape of the sperm. The analysis only requires that the male patient masturbate and that his ejaculate be collected appropriately (in a cup). To achieve the most accurate results, testing on the semen will be completed within a few hours and can take place at the fertility practice, clinic or laboratory.

Sperm Aspiration (Surgical and Non-Surgical)

If an issue with male sperm is discovered, for instance, if there is very low or no sperm count (Azoopsermia), a technique called aspiration can be used to collect sperm. This can be done surgically or non-surgically and will depend on the specific diagnosis, if there is any obstruction, and the recommendation of your doctor.

Other services used for testing and diagnoses include:

  • Microscopic testicular biopsy for Azoopsermia men

  • Sperm urinary recovery for retrograde ejaculation

    If testing and treatment do not prove successful, then it is likely that your fertility specialist will recommend use of a sperm donor to help build your family. A sperm donor is a generous individual who has agreed to donate his sperm with the understanding that it may be used to help others have a child. Again, your doctor will be able to determine if donated sperm is needed or if your fertility issue can be resolved via treatment and/or surgery. Please contact Washington Fertility Center for more information on male factor infertility testing, diagnosis and treatment.