Are you ready to start a family but have thus far been unsuccessful?
It may be time to visit your doctor to have some tests done with the aim to improve your chances of conceiving.
As infertility affects both men and women equally, it is recommended that couples both undergo screening together. With regards, to fertility screening in women, please refer to our previous article on fertility screening in women.
Article on Fertility Test for Women
In this article, I shall focus on the male side of infertility. Male infertility is responsible for up to 20% of cases of infertility in couples and contributory in approximately 30-40% cases of infertility.
So what are the tests involve?
- Seminal analysis
This involves abstaining from sex or masturbation for at least 3 days. After that, one would need to collect a semen sample and get it to the laboratory within 1 hour after ejaculation (the earlier you get it to the lab, the more accurate the results of the seminal analysis would be as sperm doesn’t last long outside the body).
A variety of parameters are looked at in the seminal analysis which would include volume, sperm concentration, sperm motility (active movements) and morphology.
- Scrotum ultrasound
This is a quick and safe method of assessing the testicles and surrounding structures to check that there is no other issues contributing towards reduced fertility. Examples would be to look for varicoceles (prominent veins around the testicles) or hydroceles (fluid around the testicles). The reasons why these could affect fertility is because good sperm quality requires a cooler body temperature and having either varicoceles or hydroceles act like insulation which increases the overall temperature leading to reduce sperm quality.
So what can be done?
1) Issue with the ultrasound scrotum results (If an abnormality is detected on the ultrasound scan, then simple surgical procedures usually performed by a specialist may be needed to rectify this.)
2) Issue with the seminal analysis results
a) Lifestyle changes
There are a variety of lifestyle changes that have been shown to improve the quality of sperm which would include:
- Losing weight
- Regular exercise
- Decrease alcohol consumption
- Decrease caffeine consumption
- Avoid overheating (avoid saunas or hot tubs, wearing looser underwear)
- Stress reduction
There are medications and supplements available to improve sperm count, quality and motility.
As the sperm life cycle takes about 74 days, the lifestyle changes or medications that you take will take about 2-3 months to show affect after starting.
In conclusion, fertility screening in men is as important as fertility screening in women for couples who are trying to conceive. The investigations involved are quick and simple and many of the issues can be corrected to varying degrees.
If you and your partner have been trying for a while now without any success, it may be time to see an experienced doctor for further advice.
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1.) Dr Tan and Partners @Bencoolen
Main Doctor: Dr Michelle Chia
180 Bencoolen Street,
#02-20, The Bencoolen
Telephone: +65 6884 4119
Monday, Wednesday & Thursday
9.00am – 5.00pm
Tuesday & Friday
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2.) Dr Tan and Partners@ Robertson
Main Doctors: Dr Grace Huang
(Anonymous HIV Testing is available daily too)
11 Unity Street,
#02-06/07, Robertson Walk
Telephone: +65 6238 7810
Monday – Friday
8.00am – 9.00pm
9.00 am – 9.00 pm
9.00 am – 2.00 pm
Public Holiday – Closed
Click to read about these related topics:
Fertility Test for Women – here
Fertility Screening in Men – here
Fertility Screening for Couples – here
Pre- Conception Screening Packages – here
Male Infertility – here
Things That Affect Fertility in Men – Low Sperm Count – here