What is a Male Fertility Test?A Male Fertility Test is an examination of semen. It is carried out to find out if there are any problems with your sperm, following difficulties in conceiving a child.
Having a Male Fertility Test
The test is done at a fertility clinic and the doctor there will go through your medical history and ask you about your lifestyle, for example, whether you drink or smoke and if you are overweight. You’ll also be asked what you do for a living and this is to find out if you are working in an environment that may be effecting your sperm quality, like in a hot kitchen.
What to Expect from a Male Fertility Test
You will be asked not to have any sexual activity between 2 and 6 days before the test, because ejaculation close the test period will affect the results. However, don’t leave it longer than the advised timescale because sexual activity is good for sperm health.You will be asked to provide a sample at the clinic. You will left alone in private and once you have produced your semen, it will be sent off the laboratory for testing. It is usual to be tested more than once so the results are consistent.
What you can do to optimise your results?
There are things you can do to change your sperm quality and many of them involve lifestyle changes that are easy to make. For instance eating more tomatoes, lettuce, spinach and carrots and omega 3 fatty acids like those in salmon, walnuts and sardines.Keeping your testicles cool also helps semen production, so if you are trying to conceive avoid hot places like saunas and don’t take long hot baths. Also avoid cycling long distances as this also heats up this testicles.
Understanding the Test Results
There are usually six tests, but if doctors are looking for something specific, there may be more. The usual tests are:
• Sperm Count - 20 million per millilitre is said to be the normal amount required to achieve pregnancy and anything under 15 million will be regarded as a low sperm count.
• Sperm Volume – This is how much sperm you ejaculate at any one time and the range is between 2 and 5 ml. Anything lower than 2ml may mean that you have a problem with your testes or prostate gland.
• Sperm shape (morphology.) If you have sperm with two tails or misshapen heads can affect your fertility.
• Sperm movement (motility.) This test measures how well your sperm will move forward through a woman’s cervical mucus. Under 40% means that the sperm aren’t able to navigate properly and can’t reach the egg to fertilise it.
• PH measurement – This should be between 7 and 8 and if it’s not it could mean that you have an infection or a blockage.
What to Do if the Results Aren’t Good
If the results show that your sperm count is low, you aren’t producing sperm, or the sperm are slow moving or not good quality, then the doctor will do more fertility tests. These include tests for sexually transmitted diseases, infections and inflammation, which when treated can improve sperm quality. You will also be tested for hormone imbalances, tumours and problems with ejaculation, which might have been caused by a past injury or surgery.
If you are producing sperm, but you have a low sperm count making lifestyle changes, having sex more often and choosing a time when your partner is fertile, will help.
You can also buy Male Fertility Kits over the counter at the chemist and this will tell you whether you have a low sperm count, this might be useful to know in order to make some lifestyle changes. You can then test again after three months to see if there is any improvement.
However the reasons for your condition, are varied and they aren’t always simple, so it is better to get professional help and advice from your doctor if you are having difficulty conceiving and need to have a Male Fertility Test.
Your partner partner has poor fertility? Read our guide to find a sperm donor.