A man’s fertility generally relies on the quantity and quality of his sperm. If the number of sperm a man ejaculates is low or if the sperm are of a poor quality, it will be difficult, and sometimes impossible, for him to cause a pregnancy. Male infertility is diagnosed when, after testing both partners, reproductive problems have been found in the male.
Symptoms of male infertility
In most cases, there are no obvious signs of infertility. Intercourse, erections and ejaculation will usually happen without difficulty. The quantity and appearance of the ejaculated semen generally appears normal to the naked eye. Medical tests are needed to find out if a man is infertile.
Causes of male infertility
Male infertility is usually caused by problems that affect either sperm production or sperm transport. About two-thirds of infertile men have a problem with making sperm in the testes. Either low numbers of sperm are made and/or the sperm that are made do not work properly.
The normal sperm count of a healthy man
The normal volume varies from 1.5 to 5.0 milliliter per ejaculation. The sperm count varies from 20 to 150 million sperm per milliliter. At least 60% of the sperm should have a normal shape and show normal forward movement (motility).
Male infertility diagnosis
If a couple has been trying for a pregnancy without success, both partners should be tested, even if one has a child from another relationship. Diagnosis can involve a medical history from the man and a physical examination along with a semen analysis to check the number, shape and movement of sperm in the ejaculate.
Spermiogram (Semen Analysis)
Semen analysis serves as a basic examination of male fertility. After 3-5 days of sexual abstinence, a man provides a semen sample into a sterile vial by masturbation and brings it to the center for further testing. An immediate testing of fresh ejaculate is the best way to analyze the semen. If a patient is unable to provide a sample while in our center, he can do so at home. However, a fresh ejaculate must be brought to the center within an hour of ejaculation. Otherwise, the results of the test can be affected by temperature changes. A laboratory examination begins with sperm liquefaction, usually after 15 – 30 minutes. Microscopic sperm examination focuses on its quantity, motility and morphology.