When couples have trouble conceiving, people often assume the problem is with the woman. In fact, the two people in the couple may even assume this. However, both partners play a role in a couple's fertility, says Yvette Smith, MD, MPH, in the WebMD Trying to Conceive Community. She advises that men consider getting a formal semen analysis as part of a couple's fertility testing.
Semen analyses evaluate:
- A man's total number of sperm
- If the sperm are living
- If the sperm are moving forward
- If the sperm are the right shape
Problems in any of these areas may cause fertility issues, Smith says. In most cases, if the results are abnormal, the test should be repeated. Semen analysis results actually reflect sperm production from a few months earlier. So test results may be abnormal if a man was severely ill a few months prior. A repeat test may be done to confirm findings.
If a man has abnormal results, he should be examined by a urologist, or see a male infertility specialist. Just as for a woman, it can be tough for a man to discover he has a physical problem that is preventing conception, Smith says.
Do you have any experience or questions about male fertility testing?