The world has evolved beyond the bias the female being the only responsible factor when it comes to fertility or infertility; decades ago, whenever there was delay in conception, the fault was invariably the females’.
Countless research and tests carried out made widely known the notion that the presence of the sperm doesn’t automatically depict that the man is fertile; “are the sperms fertile?” became a more fitting question. Fertility testing involves both partners. While we may think of pregnancy as happening in the woman’s body, it takes two to conceive.
The woman releases a fertile egg, the man sends in a fertile sperm. Fertility tests are an essential part of fertility evaluation and treatment. Through testing, your doctor can possibly discover what’s preventing you and your partner from achieving pregnancy. Although this might primarily have to do with one or the other partners in a couple such as erectile dysfunction in men, and vaginismus in women; oftentimes, sexual dysfunction must be addressed by assessing both partners.
While we often associate infertility with women, this distressing condition is just as likely to be caused by issues in the male partner. According to the American Society of Reproductive Medicine (ASRM), 25% of all infertile cases have one or more contributing infertility factors. For instance, the ASRM reports that 40% of infertility cases are due to male factor infertility while 25% of female infertility is due to abnormal ovulation.
A third of the time, fertility problems are found in men, a third of the time in women and a third of the time in both partners. The ability of a sperm to penetrate a human egg is an important issue. Low sperm counts and low motility on the Semen Analysis can often predict whether the sperm that are present are sufficient in numbers and activity to reach the eggs, and then bind to and penetrate them.
A thorough fertility evaluation will take into account the physical health and medical history of both the female and male partner, as well as the age of the female partner, which is always considered a crucial factor.
In rare cases, some men with completely normal Semen Analysis numbers may be found to have sperm that cannot bind to human eggs. Unfortunately, this is usually discovered only during IVF.
Your regular gynecologist may do some basic testing. Or, you may be referred to a reproductive endocrinologist (a doctor specializing in fertility) or a urologist (for male infertility) for more thorough fertility testing.