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What is male infertility?

Male infertility refers to a man’s inability to cause pregnancy in his partner, typically due to problems with sperm, such as low concentration, poor mobility, or abnormal shape of sperm cells. It can be caused by genetic factors, health conditions, lifestyle choices, or exposure to harmful environmental factors. Accurate diagnosis is crucial as it can help determine the best treatment for couples trying to conceive.

Male Fertility Evaluation

The diagnostic process for male infertility usually begins with a detailed medical examination and taking a comprehensive medical and sexual history. The doctor may ask about how long the couple has been trying to conceive, sexual habits, history of diseases, surgeries, traumas, as well as exposure to chemicals or heat, all of which can affect fertility.
Key diagnostic methods include semen analysis, which evaluates sperm count, motility, and morphology. This test can also detect problems such as azoospermia (absence of sperm in the ejaculate) or oligospermia (reduced sperm count).
Testing hormone levels, such as testosterone and pituitary hormones, can help identify issues with hormonal regulation that affects sperm production. Certain genetic defects can also affect male fertility. Tests such as karyotyping or analysis for specific mutations may be recommended if there is suspicion of a genetic cause of infertility. Ultrasound of the testes and scrotum can help detect varicoceles (enlarged veins in the scrotum), blockages, or other abnormalities that may affect testicular function. In rare cases, when semen analysis shows very few or no sperm, a testicular biopsy may be recommended to see if sperm production is occurring within the testes.
Male infertility testing is an important step in the diagnosis and treatment planning process. Based on the results of these tests, the doctor can recommend appropriate treatments, which may include medications, surgical interventions, or assisted reproductive techniques like IVF. Couples may also be advised to make lifestyle changes that could improve the chances of successful conception.