1. Shouldn't they check my partner's fertility first?
When a couple cannot become pregnant, it is much easier, less invasive, and less expensive for the man to be tested first. Semen analysis samples can be collected, and problems identified or ruled, out quickly.
Yes, there is a home test available that measures sperm count and gives a result within a few minutes. However, it is important to understand that a sperm count is only one part of a semen analysis for determination of male fertility and is only one aspect of a complex process.
Some of the common causes of male infertility include damage to the testicles from infections such as the mumps, chemotherapy/radiation, trauma or surgery; obstruction of the tubes that carry semen to the penis caused by scarring from an infection or having cystic fibrosis, a varicocele (an enlarged collection of blood vessels in the scrotum that raises the temperature of the testicles, which can lead to low sperm production), having the genetic condition Klinefelter syndrome, and anything that lowers levels of the hormones LH and FSH, such as a pituitary tumor. Chronic illness, poor overall health, obesity, certain medications, and drug abuse may also decrease sperm production and fertility. For more information, see MayoClinic.com's web page on Male Infertility: Causes.
Treatment will depend on the cause. It could include surgery to repair a varicocele or a blockage, hormone injections, or use of assisted reproductive technologies. For more information, see MayoClinic.com's web page on Male Infertility: Treatments and drugs.
This article was last reviewed on September 30, 2013. | This article was last modified on February 24, 2015.
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