Testing for Male Infertility
It often comes as a shock to many couples that the prevalence of male factor infertility is so high. It is mistakenly assumed that the female partner is largely responsible for a couple’s infertility. However, it is very important to get a complete picture of the couple’s situation in order to make the most effective and efficient treatment plan possible.
The first step in testing for male infertility is a semen analysis. Regardless of whether you’ve previously fathered a child or you feel otherwise healthy, a semen analysis is the only way to identify or rule out a problem with the male partner’s sperm. If the results are abnormal, you may undergo additional testing or be referred to our in-house reproductive urologist for a comprehensive evaluation to determine the cause.
Why do I need a semen analysis?
If you’ve been having unprotected intercourse for 1 year or more with a female partner under 35 or 6 months with a female partner over 35 and she hasn’t yet conceived, or if you have reason to suspect you may have an issue with your sperm, such as testicular trauma, erectile dysfunction, or problems ejaculating, it is time to see a fertility specialist for testing of both partners.
Both partners should be tested at the same time, and treatment shouldn’t begin until a diagnosis is established.
What does the semen analysis measure?
During the semen analysis, your physician will focus on the sperm’s potential to fertilize the egg. Some of the parameters we check for in a semen analysis include:
- Sperm count (concentration)
- pH (level of acidity)
- Motility (movement)
- Progression (motion and forward progression)
- Semen viscosity (consistency)
- Morphology (shape and appearance)
- The presence or absence of white, red blood cells, or immature sperm
What does it cost?
Most semen analyses are covered by insurance. Although SGF’s Andrology Center does not process insurance claims, we will provide you with a detailed receipt to submit to your insurance for reimbursement.
What if my test results are abnormal?
It may be advised that you retest in some cases. In addition, you’ll have the opportunity to schedule a consult with one of SGF’s in-house reproductive urologists who specialize in male infertility to discuss options best suited to you.
Why choose Shady Grove Fertility for a semen analysis?
- Test Reliability: SGF’s Andrology Center performs over 20,000 semen analyses and sperm washings every year.
- Expertise: Experienced andrologists review each sample for higher reliability; computer-assisted semen analyses (CASA) commonly performed in other labs are less accurate and objective than the human eye. If you’ve tested elsewhere, we recommended that you re-test with SGF to ensure accurate and complete results.
- Convenience: Many locations are located throughout Maryland, Pennsylvania, Virginia, Washington, D.C., Florida, and Georgia.
If the analysis is abnormal, your doctor may also want to check for a hormonal imbalance by measuring the following hormone levels as well as checking for genetic defects:
- Follicle-stimulating hormone (FSH): a male and female hormone; in males, FSH helps maintain sperm production
- Luteinizing hormone (LH): a male and female hormone; in males, LH stimulates the production of testosterone
- Prolactin: Higher levels of prolactin can be indicative of a pituitary problem and can affect overall total testosterone levels
Additional male testing, when undergoing infertility treatment, the male partner will also undergo infectious disease testing, similar to the female partner, in order to check for hepatitis B surface antigens, hepatitis C antibodies, human immunodeficiency virus (HIV), and other infectious diseases.
What to do next
Schedule a semen analysis appointment
You or your partner may make an appointment to schedule the drop off of your semen sample Monday through Friday in select locations throughout Maryland, Pennsylvania, Virginia, Washington, D.C., and Georgia.
Collect a semen sample
SGF requires at-home sample collections. You or your partner (I.D. is required) must drop off your sample within 60 to 90 minutes of collection.
SGF’s reproductive endocrinologists review each patient’s test results to uncover the possible causes of male infertility. A detailed report will be provided to your referring physician typically 3 to 5 business days following your test. If there are questions about the results, it is recommended to schedule a consultation with one of our in-house urologists.