Sperm quality and quantity
Male infertility affects about half of the couples I see. Sometimes a man’s sperm is simply of poor quality, even if he is perfectly healthy. In other cases infertility is a result of a more serious medical problem like a hormonal deficiency.
Whatever the reason, the most important test for male infertility is a semen analysis, a simple procedure that can be performed by a specialist infertility laboratory like the Andrology Department at Melbourne IVF. Semen analysis measures the number of sperm, their motility (how many of them can swim) and their shape.
Sometimes sperm stick to each other in a process called agglutination. This is often caused by the presence of anti-sperm antibodies, which can significantly affect sperm penetration into the cervical mucus and therefore reduce the chance of falling pregnant naturally.
How do you treat male infertility?
Male infertility can be treated with intracytoplasmic sperm injection (ICSI), which can be used as part of your IVF treatment cycle. ICSI is an effective treatment for low sperm count, poor sperm movement, high numbers of abnormally shaped sperm, and the presence of anti-sperm antibodies.
For some conditions, surgery or medication will be recommended. I can also help you with organising a vasectomy reversal.
Organising semen analysis
If we decide to conduct a semen analysis, I will give you a request form and instructions.
You can produce your semen sample at home and deliver it to the laboratory within one hour or, if more convenient, you may use a private room within our clinics at the time of your appointment.
Checking underlying causes
After the semen analysis, we may need to perform blood tests for follicle stimulating hormone (FSH), luteinising hormone (LH) and testosterone. These hormones help sperm to develop and mature, so checking their levels can indicate underlying causes of male infertility.
If your sperm count is very low or zero, you may need to have a chromosome analysis (karyotype) and other tests. Sometimes other specialised investigations are needed, such as a testicular ultrasound.