Fertility studies are very useful for people who want to have offspring, as they detect possible fertility problems that may hinder or prevent the achievement of their goals. They are useful not only for those who wish to start a male fertility treatment because they are unable to achieve a pregnancy despite having ruled out problems with their partner’s fertility, but also for those who want to confirm their fertile condition, dispel possible doubts and relax. Sometimes fears are internalized if the search for pregnancy is prolonged, which can lead to a vicious circle of stress that makes it difficult to achieve conception. In these cases, ruling out infertility helps to relax.
The male fertility study is performed in a personalized manner, since it is adapted to each person and each need. Age and health conditions are evaluated, among other variables, to choose the most suitable fertility test for each individual. In this post, we will explain everything you need to know about how the male fertility study is performed, and we will tell you which are the most frequent tests.
What does the diagnosis of male infertility consist of?
First of all, in order to reach a diagnosis, a physical examination of the genitalia is performed, and the health history is analyzed, whether it be hereditary disorders, chronic diseases, surgeries or injuries. Before performing the semen analysis, called seminogram, spermiogram or spermatogram, the patient is asked a series of questions regarding his sexual habits.
To take the semen sample, a sterilized container is used in which the patient deposits the semen obtained by masturbation, or it can also be collected through a special condom used during sexual intercourse.
The sample is evaluated in a laboratory that performs a quantitative and qualitative sperm count. The quantitative count seeks to track the amount of semen and the amount of sperm. The qualitative count evaluates the appearance, viscosity, pH, volume, liquefaction time, and focuses on looking for infection or abnormalities in the shape or movement of the sperm. In addition, it analyzes if there is an obstruction in the reproductive tract that prevents the correct exit of the spermatozoa.
It should also be noted that the patient is asked not to ejaculate for 2 to 5 days prior to the analysis.
However, if the results of the seminogram (235) show that there is no problem, before proceeding with another more thorough test, it will be recommended that the patient’s partner undergo fertility tests. If the couple has already had fertility tests and the results were normal, then more specific male fertility tests are done to analyze, among other things, if the outer layer of the sperm is healthy, if the sperm has broken or fragile DNA, or if there are any genetic abnormalities that could be passed on to a child.
Different male fertility tests
We present the analyses that make up the general male fertility profile that we perform most frequently at Ambar Lab. We explain them briefly:
- Blood karyotype (test 3600): consists of a blood test that evaluates the patient’s chromosomal formula in order to rule out possible chromosomal alterations likely to be at the origin of sterility.
- SRY gene FISH (test 4765): chromosomal alterations in the SRY gene are analyzed as a possible cause of a pathophysiological disorder.
- FISH of sperm (test 3647): will allow us to determine the levels of sperm with abnormal chromosomal endowment and assess whether or not they exceed the limits of normality.
- Chromosomal fragility (test 3602): consists of the analysis of the susceptibility of chromosomes to breakage or production of inversions, deletions, translocations and other alterations related to chromosome fragility.
- Sperm DNA fragmentation study (SCD test) (test 3641): the state of the sperm DNA, located in the head of the spermatozoa, which constitutes its genetic integrity, is analyzed.
- Y chromosome microdeletions (test 3160): alterations, damage or loss of a fragment of the AZF chromosomal region are sought.
- Ac HIV 1+2 + p24 (test 921): it seeks to rule out HIV infection.
- HBsAg (test 195): the fundamental marker for the diagnosis of hepatitis B virus (HBV) infection is sought.
- HBc Ac (test 191): the aim is to interpret whether there was a past or current infection.
- HVc Ac (test 934): it is intended to reveal HEpatitis C (HCV) infection.
- CMV IgG (test 183: ): to reveal previous Cytomegalovirus infection.
- CMV IgM (test 184): sought to reveal current Cytomegalovirus infection
- HAART (test 227): testing for possible Syphilis infection by looking for specific anti-Treponema pallidum antibodies.
How do hormones affect male fertility?
It is worth noting the importance of hormones in male fertility and reproduction. Male sex hormones, called androgens, are chemicals that are produced mainly in the testes and whose regulation depends on the hypothalamus and pituitary gland, which in turn stimulate the production of these hormones and control the amount of hormones secreted. Sex hormones control sperm production, influence sexual appetite and the ability to have sexual intercourse. This is because there are neurons that are sensitive to steroid hormones, and thus androgen levels can influence human behavior.
Abnormal variations in hormone levels may be a reflection of problems in spermatogenesis. Azoospermia, which is the absence of sperm in the ejaculate, or cryptozoospermia, which is a very low concentration of sperm, can be traced from hormone analysis. A test is recommended to evaluate the hormone levels and to discover the cause of the low semen quality. In addition, the possibility of hormone treatment to improve seminal quality should be analyzed.
As we could see throughout this entry, the male fertility study is very useful to detect any dysfunction or abnormality that may hinder or prevent a pregnancy. The fertility study helps to know the fertile condition, the causes in case of infertility, as it is also used to analyze semen donations.
Contact us if you have any questions and visit our blog to keep abreast of all the latest news in the clinical field. In Ambar Lab we offer more than 3,000 laboratory tests, support in business management and development of new projects. We work so that our wide and growing catalog of tests fits you, because we know that knowledge is the key that facilitates the work of our customers.