Male testing

A GP or a Fertility Specialist may order some routine tests, to identify any specific issues before a personalised treatment plan is developed. Female Testing is also conducted so both partners are reviewed closely. These tests are key as they ensure the treatment selected addresses your specific fertility issue.

Genea Fertility Specialist Dr Derek Lok talks about male infertility
Male infertility is more common than you might think. About 40% of cases where couples have trouble conceiving, the problem lies with the man. Problems with sperm production, or alternatively a problem blocking sperm from getting into the ejaculation, can both contribute to male factor infertility. So, male testing involves an analysis of semen and checking physical structures.
 

A physical examination may be conducted to review easy to identify physical issues such as:

  • Undescended testis. When the testis has not reached its normal position in the scrotum which stops it from functioning properly and may stop it from producing sperm.
  • Testicular size. Small volume testes are associated with poor sperm production.
  • Whether the tubes that carry sperm from the testes to the outside world are present or not.

A semen analysis will look for the following sperm features:

  • Number (concentration) and movement (motility) of sperm. A healthy ejaculate contains greater than 40 million sperm with at least half of them swimming appropriately. If a man isn’t producing enough sperm, the chance of conception is significantly reduced.
  • Shape (morphology). A healthy sperm has an oval head and a long tail which propels it forward. Sperm with abnormal shaped heads or curled or double tails are less likely to fertilise an egg.

A more detailed analysis of sperm can also include:

  • DNA quality. The genetic information (DNA) carried in the sperm head – that meets with equivalent information of the egg after fertilisation – also needs be healthy. If there is DNA damage this can lead to poorly developing embryos and a risk of miscarriage. A regular turnover of sperm leads to less DNA damage so regular ejaculation is important.

Occasionally these features are all normal but the man’s immune system accidentally makes anti-sperm antibodies which prevent the natural binding between sperm and eggs.

For patients who have had recurrent miscarriage or have a genetic condition in their family, a Fertility Specialist may review both partners for chromosome abnormalities. Should abnormalities be detected, it may indicate that Pre-implantation Genetic Diagnosis or Pre-implantation Genetic Screening is required.

Even without any obvious family history, all couples planning pregnancy should consider having testing to ensure that they both don’t carry the same quiet genetic (recessive) condition. Many of us carry one recessive condition which in itself doesn’t cause disease, however if both partners carry the same recessive gene (examples include cystic fibrosis and spinal muscular atrophy) – then that couple have a 1 in 4 chance of having a baby with a serious medical disorder. Your Fertility Specialist will usually offer this testing which is undertaken by an external pathology company.

A Fertility Specialist or GP may order an ultrasound to check for:

  • Obstructions - preventing the sperm from leaving the male reproductive system.
  • Scrotal varicocele - large veins (varicose veins) wrapping around one or both of the testicles which may impair the ability of the scrotum to cool down and therefore affects sperm quality.
  • Any pre-cancerous change in the testes – men with very low sperm counts have a higher risk for this.
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Modern Babies podcast - Male Fertility

Genea Hollywood Andrology

NATA RCPA logoGenea Hollywood's Andrology laboratory is NATA/RCPA accredited in accordance with ISO15189 and NPAAC requirements.

Applicable for Medicare eligible patients only. No-out-of-pocket Fertility Assessment is for an initial consultation with our Fertility GP at our Genea Hollywood clinic.

Frequently Asked Questions

A Fertility Specialist will review these results carefully to develop a personalised treatment plan that addresses your specific infertility issue.

It depends on the test but Genea Hollywood prides itself on speedy results which are sent to the requesting doctor within 7 working days.

If you are coming to us for a second opinion, we recommend bringing all test results you have had during your fertility investigations. If they’re outdated, your Fertility Specialist can order new tests. Additionally, many sperm tests will not have included testing for sperm antibodies or DNA fragmentation and your Fertility Specialist may wish to have these tests undertaken.

At each Andrology lab, there are private collection rooms. You will be provided with a sterile 70ml sample jar, if needed a larger collection jar can be requested. 

Yes, your partner can go into the collection room with you. 

Each of the Andrology collection rooms has digital material, magazines and free wi-fi, sperm-safe lubricant is also provided.