Male Infertility Evaluation

Male Infertility Evaluation is included in all initial visits to our Austin Infertility Clinic

While the majority of attention related to the diagnosis and treatment of infertility is directed toward the female, approximately 50% of all cases of infertility are actually due to abnormalities in sperm production or function.  Unlike women, who are born with all of the eggs that they will ever have, men produce sperm from the time of puberty until late in life.  It typically takes between 90 and 108 days from the time that a sperm is produced in the testicles until it is eventually ejaculated.  Therefore, in addition to medical conditions that can adversely affect sperm production in general, any event that occurs during this period of sperm maturation can have an immediate impact on a man’s fertility.

Medical History

The first step in the evaluation of the male involves a thorough medical history – i.e. an office consultation during which your physician will ask you extensively about your basic medical condition, as well as about specific factors that could affect your fertility.  It is important to know whether you have fathered any pregnancies, whether they resulted in an ultimate delivery of a live child or not.

In addition, we will discuss any medical illnesses that you may have, either illnesses that you had in childhood such as mumps, or chronic illnesses that you may have such as hypertension.  We will also explore any operations that you have had, focusing specifically on any surgical procedures involving the scrotum such as a varicocele repair, treatment of a spermatocele or hydrocele, or even a hernia repair.  It is also important to note if you have undergone a previous vasectomy, with or without a vasectomy reversal.

Lifestyle and Fertility Risk Factors

We will next discuss in detail any medications that you are currently taking, as certain medications can affect both sexual performance and sperm development and function.  In addition, we will discuss lifestyle factors such as cigarette smoking, alcohol use, and the use of prescription and non-prescription medications.  It should be noted that cigarette smoking has been proven to have a significant adverse effect on sperm.  Similarly, alcohol consumption, in excess, can adversely affect testosterone production and ultimate sperm function.  Finally, certain illicit drugs such as marijuana can also have an adverse effect on sexual performance and sperm production.

Your family history is also important, as certain genetic conditions have been associated with a significant decrease in fertility potential.

The next step in the evaluation typically involves a semen analysis.