Male fertility problems are caused by a number of issues and diagnosis usually involves a general physical examination and semen analysis.
We offer progressive tests too, which check for chromosomal issues, or sperm DNA damage.
You can read more about these tests below.
Hormone screening and testing can give us an indication of everything from how many sperm you’re able to produce, to whether you might have an underlying medical condition – and all of this information will help us to give you the right fertility treatment.
If you’re a new patient or suffering from unexplained fertility problems we’re likely to suggest hormone screening, as it can really help us to better understand your needs.
In men, particular hormones can be good indicators of how much sperm you’re able to produce.
The levels of follicle stimulating hormone (FSH) and luteinizing hormone (LH) in your blood can help us get an idea of how much sperm you might be producing. We’ll also check your testosterone levels.
MERC lets us detect sperm in semen samples even when numbers are low.
Our scientists introduced the MERC technique so that, when our patients have a low sperm count or reportedly no sperm, we can try to find sperm in multiple semen samples to use in fertility treatment and avoid the need for surgery.
If you’ve been told you’re producing little or no sperm in your ejaculate, we could recommend MERC as a way of collecting sperm for treatment. If it’s not successful you might then go ahead with surgical sperm retrieval.
For the MERC test we’ll need you to provide us with several semen samples in one day – usually around three samples with two hours left between each.
Once you’ve given us the samples we’ll process them, finding any sperm that could be used in fertility treatment. If we identify sperm in your samples we might then freeze them to use in future treatments.
The quality of your sperm is really important in deciding your next steps.
Male fertility problems are one of the largest known causes of infertility in couples – in fact, they contribute to up to 30%–50% of cases. Sperm analysis is essential to both diagnosis and treatment, so when you come to us, your sperm is one of the first things we’ll need to check.
Whether or not you’re generally healthy or have had a child before, we’ll always recommend semen analysis to every man that comes to Zoë Fertility Clinic. When couples are struggling to start a family around 30% of cases are related to sperm, so it’s essential we see whether this is a possibility.
We’d usually book you in for semen analysis before your first consultation or as part of a fertility assessment. That way, the results will be ready when you meet your consultant.
Before the sperm test, you’ll need to abstain from sex for three to five days. When we test your semen sample, we’ll assess:
Genetically testing your sperm can help us better decide your next steps.
Research suggests that low sperm motility, low sperm count and poor sperm shape could be related to chromosomal disorders. Screening your sperm lets us check for these kinds of anomalies and whether they could be passed on to an embryo.
Problems with your sperm chromosomes can cause miscarriages or serious genetic conditions and illnesses in children, so if we think your sperm might have any chromosome disorders we’ll encourage you to be tested.
We’ll usually recommend sperm chromosome screening as an additional male fertility test for:
For screening, we simply need you to provide a semen sample. We’ll then freeze your sample and test it for abnormalities, and results should be available within a few weeks. Once we have the results, together we’ll discuss your next steps, which could be further tests or possible treatments.
Sperm DNA damage could be a cause of low quality sperm.
Factors including your age and lifestyle can damage your sperm DNA. So, if you’re over 50 years old, you’re a current or ex-smoker, or if you could have been exposed to glue vapours or other toxicants that can affect your fertility, it might be a good idea to have your sperm checked for DNA damage.
We’re most likely to recommend sperm DNA damage screening if you’re struggling with:
For screening, we simply need you to provide a semen sample. We’ll then freeze your sample and ship this over to our laboratory, where it will be thawed and tested for DNA damage.
Once we have the results, together we’ll discuss your next steps, which could be further tests or possible treatments.