Taking Action with Male Infertility Evaluation
When a couple schedules an initial visit with Dr. James Douglas, the cause is often unknown. Infertility is generally attributed to male factors in 40 percent of cases, so the recommended next steps will likely include evaluating both partners.
At IVF Plano, we believe there is an advantage to initiating diagnosis with the male partner. Evaluating male infertility typically involves a less invasive and expensive approach than female infertility. In fact, a Q&A session, along with blood work and semen tests are usually all that are needed for Dr. Douglas to rule out male factor infertility, or direct the course of action.
Four Factors in a Comprehensive Male Infertility Evaluation
Dr. Douglas begins each new case with an investigative health history, followed by diagnostic testing, including semen analysis and blood testing to evaluate genetic factors and hormone levels.
To diagnose male factor infertility, Dr. Douglas will review medical records and your responses to an IVF Plano fertility questionnaire. We will schedule a health history interview with the goal of identifying possible structural issues or past experiences that can hinder conception.
Dr. Douglas considers the following circumstances potential male fertility inhibitors:
- Trauma to testicles
- Abdominal surgery
- A history of retrograde ejaculation
- A history of erectile dysfunction
- The presence of varicocele or undescended testicle
- A history of genetic disease, such as cystic fibrosis (CF)
- A history of STD
- A history of cancer treatment
- Certain prescription medications
- Lifestyle factors, such as smoking, drug use and obesity
Your visit to Dr. Douglas for male infertility evaluation will not include a physical exam. Certain causes of male infertility are referred to a urologist.
A semen sample–collected at home or in the IVF Plano office–will provide Dr. Douglas a means to determine semen quality. More information on common sperm disorders is found here, but essentially we evaluate three key components:
- Sperm count: An abnormal range is fewer than 20 million per milliliter of semen
- Sperm motility: Sperm’s ability to swim or penetrate an egg
- Sperm morphology: The size and shape of a sperm
Most issues that point to sperm disorders will surface in basic testing, but Dr. Douglas may order specialized semen analysis.
Blood Work and Urine Samples
The presence of healthy sperm is just one component required for successful conception. Blood work to check hormone levels may reveal another cause of male factor infertility. Dr. Douglas evaluates levels of sex hormones, including follicle stimulating hormone (FSH), testosterone, luteinizing hormone (LH), estradiol and prolactin.
Urine analysis will help determine if retrograde ejaculation is causing sperm to flow backward into the bladder.
When a semen analysis reveals a low sperm count, the next step involves genetic testing. Dr. Douglas may also order genetic testing if he suspects chromosomal or genetic abnormalities.
At the conclusion of male infertility evaluation, Dr. Douglas will explain your options, that may include: artificial insemination (IUI); in-vitro fertilization (IVF); or intracytoplasmic sperm injection (ICSI).
Of course, we may rule out male factor infertility entirely and focus on female infertility.
Putting your reproductive health under a microscope is a difficult process, and the team at IVF Plano understands the discomfort you likely feel. Bottom line: You want results. The best approach to overcoming infertility is enlisting an expert clinic like IVF Plano to pinpoint the cause.
Read more about Evaluation of Male Infertility – an ASRM Guide