What infertility tests determine male infertility?

A male fertility evaluation may include a physical exam to check for problems in the testicles, such as the absence of one or both testes, decrease in sizes of testes, testis mass that would suggest testicular cancer, or an enlargement in the veins in the scrotum (varicocele), a common cause of low sperm production.

A comprehensive semen analysis will determine the volume of sperm, number of sperm, portion of sperm that are able to move properly (motility), and number of sperm with healthy shape and structure (morphology) in a semen sample. Additional tests on the semen may include a test for antibodies in the semen that may kill or undermine sperm function or a test to analyze the sperm DNA integrity. Blood tests may be done to measure hormonal levels in the blood, which may be affect sperm production.

When are male infertility tests recommended?

Generally, if a couple has tried unsuccessfully for one year to get pregnant, then fertility testing is recommended for both partners to determine the cause of infertility. However, a man may choose to get tested for infertility earlier if there is a known fertility-impact issue, such as:

  • Cancer treatments in the past
  • A genetic disorder like cystic fibrosis or congenital bilateral absence of the vas deferens (CBAVD)
  • Impotence
  • Previous surgery on testes, penis, or genito-urinary tract.
  • A history of mumps in adulthood
  • Trauma to the testicles, suggesting a potential sperm problem
  • Known history of infertility or recurrent miscarriage

Risks of infertility tests & diagnosis

Blood tests for hormone analysis and semen/sperm analysis are virtually free of risk.

As with all surgical procedures, the risks of MESA, PESA, micro-TESE and TESA are small but can include:

  • Bruising and tenderness in the scrotum
  • Discomfort or pain
  • Risk of infection in the incision area