In a couple trying to conceive male factor might be solely responsible for 30% and in 20% it might be a contributory factor. So to sum up in approximately 50% couples trying to conceive there might be an issue with the husband interfering with conception.
How do you diagnose male infertility?
- A thorough history and physical examination are the first lines in diagnosing male infertility.
- The backbone of investigating the husband is semen analysis. This simple, non-invasive test can give us a wealth of information. In simpler layman terms a man must be producing healthy motile sperms in millions of numbers that are able to fertilize the egg. So if there is any issue with the number ( COUNT), movement ( MOTILITY) or quality (MORPHOLOGY) of sperms, there will be difficulty in penetrating egg (FERTILISATION) resulting in infertility.
Where can you get semen analysis done?
The semen for examination collected by masturbation can be done in any pathological lab. The sample will then be seen under a microscope. However, it is a good idea to go for semen analysis in an IVF lab as their semen will be examined by a trained andrologist or embryologist. So one will be looking at a more precise report.
Are there any precautions to be taken before semen analysis?
- Before undergoing semen analysis, there should be an interval of 3-7 days of abstinence.
- There should be a gap of only 3-7 days in intercourse as if there are higher gaps, we might find more dead sperms.
- It is a good idea to give your sample inside the lab only as then sperms are not exposed to colder temperatures.
- However, if you will like to go for a home collection, take care that the time from collection of the sample to depositing it in the lab is less than 30 minutes
- Do not go for semen analysis if you have recently suffered from illness.
Are there any additional tests recommended?
Depending on the semen analysis report further tests like ultrasound scrotum, hormonal tests like serum FSH, prolactin, etc might be needed. Specialized tests like genetic testing, DNA fragmentation tests are needed in few settings.
What are the treatment options?
With the advancement in treatment strategies, more and more patients with male infertility can have their own biological child. The treatment options can start from medical therapy in the form of drugs to IUI or intrauterine insemination to advanced assisted reproductive techniques like ICSI ( Intra-cytoplasmic sperm injection), surgical sperm retrieval techniques like PESA/TESA ( Percutaneous epididymal sperm aspiration or testicular sperm aspiration), etc.
Is there any precaution needed in diet or lifestyle to improve sperms?
A good healthy balanced lifestyle and diet are the cornerstone for healthy sperms. It is important to avoid smoking and alcohol consumption when you are trying to conceive. Anabolic steroids should be avoided as they are known to cause reduced sperm numbers.