For many couples, starting a family is an easy process. They decide the time has come, they stop using birth control protection, and the woman becomes pregnant. For some couples, however, pregnancy does not occur. Determining why you and your partner are having trouble conceiving can be a complicated process that may leave you wondering if your partner has fertility problems. Several medical procedures can be used to determine if your male partner is infertile.
Get a physical. According to MayoClinic.com, the first step in checking a man’s fertility should be to obtain a complete medical history, a genital exam and the disclosure of any possible genetic issues or diseases that may have been passed down through your partner’s blood line. Past surgeries and illnesses will also be discussed, as some surgeries and illnesses can impact male fertility.
Request a semen analysis. This involves collecting semen in a specimen container, usually at the doctor’s office, and having it sent to a laboratory for evaluation. The evaluation can determine if your partner is producing healthy sperm as well as any abnormalities that can impede fertility. The shape and movement of the sperm will also be examined and included in the lab report that will then be sent to the physician.
Have his testosterone checked. If your partner’s sperm count is below 20 million sperm cells for each milliliter of fluid, a secondary test will usually be performed in which your partner’s testosterone levels will be assessed. In addition, the test will measure his FSH levels to determine his overall testosterone levels and health.
Request a urinalysis to check for retrograde ejaculation. MayoClinic.com reports that semen found in the urine indicates your partner has retrograde ejaculation, which can interfere with his ability to get you pregnant.
Undergo a scrotal ultrasound. This imaging technique can spot obstructions in the area of the scrotum that stores sperm. A transrectal ultrasound may also be ordered and is a procedure in which the ultrasound wand is inserted to the rectum and checks the prostrate for any blockage or deformities.
Submit to a sperm function test. This test evaluates how strong his sperm is, whether it is capable of penetrating an egg and how easily it attaches to the egg. It is an important step in evaluating fertility if the other testing does not detect a problem.