Tests to assess male fertility
Male fertility can be verified through laboratory tests that aim to verify the sperm production capacity and its characteristics, such as shape and motility.
In addition to ordering the tests, the doctor usually checks the general health of the man, evaluating him physically and performing the investigation of diseases and possible infections of the urinary tract and testicles, for example. You can also ask about the use of medications, illicit drugs and frequent consumption of alcoholic beverages, as these factors can change the quality and quantity of sperm and, thus, interfere with male fertility.
The spermogram is the main test performed to check male fertility, as it aims to evaluate semen characteristics, such as viscosity, pH and color, in addition to the amount of sperm per ml of semen, shape of sperm, motility and concentration of live sperm. .
Thus, this test is able to indicate whether there is adequate production of sperm and whether those produced are viable, that is, whether they are capable of fertilizing an egg.
The material for the examination is obtained in the laboratory through masturbation and it is indicated that the man does not have sexual intercourse between 2 and 5 days before the collection, in addition to washing his hands and genitals well before the collection. Learn how to prepare for the sperm test.
2. Hormonal dosage
Blood tests for hormonal dosage are also indicated to check male fertility, since testosterone stimulates the production of sperm, in addition to guaranteeing male secondary characteristics.
Despite being a hormone directly related to man's reproductive capacity, the evaluation of fertility should not be based only on testosterone levels, since the concentration of this hormone naturally decreases over time, compromising the production of sperm. Learn all about testosterone.
3. Post-coitus test
This examination aims to verify the ability of the sperm to live and swim through the cervical mucus, which is the mucus responsible for lubricating the woman. Although the exam aims to assess male fertility, cervical mucus is collected from the woman 2 to 12 hours after intimate contact to check sperm motility.
4. Other exams
Some other laboratory tests may be ordered by the urologist to check the man's fertility, such as the DNA fragmentation test and the antibody test against sperm.
In the DNA fragmentation exam, the amount of DNA that is released from the sperm and that remains in the semen is verified, and it is possible to verify fertility problems according to the verified concentration. The examination of antibodies against sperm, on the other hand, aims to assess whether there are antibodies produced by women that act against sperm, promoting their immobilization or death, for example.
In addition, the doctor may order an ultrasound of the testicles to check the integrity of the organ and identify any changes that may be interfering with male fertility, or digital rectal examination in order to assess the prostate.