Male Pre-Cycle Screening
Like women, men also experience fertility issues where they are unable to make their partner pregnant even after several attempts. In such cases, seeking a professional specialist with skills and experience in diagnosing and treating male infertility is crucial. Based on the duration of your problems and age, fertility specialists will recommend certain procedures.
Before starting the initial treatment of fertility issues, healthcare providers will first obtain a fundamental understanding of fertility. Male pre-cycle screening thus involves the first assessment of the overall health history. This also helps determine the most appropriate tests and procedures to undergo. In most cases, the screening tests depend on your general needs and requirements.
Male Pre-Cycle Screening Essential Factors
In wider terms, diagnosis of fertility cases begins with an attempt to identify the effect of various factors among couples. The male fertility test factors can include the following;
- Sperm count
The fundamental sperm count, collected through masturbation and analysis of the sperm two to five days following abstinence, is one of the bases of making a diagnosis. It should be conducted, especially if a female aspect has been recognized. Most partners, approximately 40 percent, with fertility issues have problems affecting them both.
- Sperm function
The capacity of sperm to enter a female egg is important. Low motility and sperm counts on the semen analysis usually determine if the sperm present are adequate in number. It also predicts their ability to enter the eggs, attach to them, and penetrate them.
There is no conclusive way to verify that sperm are working correctly other than combining eggs and sperm in a dish during In Vitro Fertilization. In rare situations, men with perfectly normal semen analysis results may be diagnosed with sperm that can’t bond to human eggs. Unluckily, this is normally found during IVF.
Some research studies have shown that advanced age in men, especially 50 years and above, may contribute to high infertility and miscarriage rates. The literature data on this is inconsistent, with some research indicating that paternal age has an impact and others not finding it to be particularly predictive. If paternal age has an effect, then it could be a minor one.
- Sperm DNA integrity
There has recently been a lot of concern in testing the male semen for DNA fragmentation. This is especially in patients with unexplained infertility issues, constant reproductive failure, and frequent miscarriage. These are, however, not 100 percent predictive. Regardless, they can show whether or not the semen instead of the egg is causing the fertility issue in these unusual cases.
- Sexual dysfunction
Sexual dysfunction may be mainly due to one of the spouses in a relationship. This could include erectile dysfunction in the male partner or vaginismus in women. Sexual dysfunction is often a couple's dilemma and needs to be resolved by evaluating both participants.
If sperm concentration is incredibly low, a genetic issue may exist. A blood examination can detect small variations in the Y chromosome, which indicate a genetic abnormality. To diagnosis multiple congenital or hereditary syndromes, genetic testing can be conducted.
- Unexplainable infertility problem
If all other screening tests are regular, then an unexplainable infertility problem is the final diagnosis. Despite all of the regular testing coming back fine, most couples who are unable to conceive after one to two years of attempting may be suffering from endometriosis or age-related subfertility. On the other hand, there might be other medical conditions or diagnoses that medical professionals are yet to discover.
Types of Male Pre-Cycle Screening Tests
Most people often associate infertility cases with women. However, such a distressing issue is likely to be caused by problems of the male partner. In most cases, fertility disorders impact men one-third of the time, women one-third of the time, and all spouses one-third of the time.
A rigorous fertility test would evaluate the female and male partners' physical fitness and medical history records. It will also include the age of the partner, which is often considered a critical consideration.
Overall, the types of male pre-cycle screening tests and procedures include;
Medical history analysis:
During the first visit to the fertility center, the specialist will start by asking questions regarding your sexual history and overall health. This is a significant part of the infertility diagnosis and the best way of evaluating the underlying cause of the problem. Furthermore, medical history analysis gives the fertility specialist the necessary information they need to determine if additional testing is required.
Infectious diseases testing:
Every male partner who wants to undergo IVF treatment is required b the medical law to be tested for agents of viral hepatitis B and C, syphilis, HTLV-I, and HIV. This is because such conditions affect the normal fertility process. It’s also essential to test female partners for similar disorders if they want to freeze and preserve their embryos.
The semen analysis is a technique for determining the number of moving and correctly formed sperm in a man's ejaculate. The procedure includes masturbating and ejaculating into a sample cup. The sample is then analyzed by a lab technician with expertise in such a test.
Two sperm analyses are usually essential prior to IVF. At least one semen examination should be completed in the laboratory before retrieval of the eggs. The analyses can include testing for sperm antibodies in the semen as well as checking for an infection that could interfere with fertilization.
Once you make an appointment, your doctor will receive information about how to extract the sample. The physician might have already referred you for a sperm examination as part of your original investigation. However, it is essential that you have this test replicated at a laboratory because test results usually vary between labs and with time. The lab technician will also do a thorough preparation to evaluate the best method to prepare the sample.
Giving a sperm sample on the day of egg retrieval may be an embarrassing and traumatic experience in other men. However, the specialized fertility center aspires to make the experience as convenient as possible for every person.
It is essential to note that the specialist who will be working with you and the semen sample are going about their everyday task. Even though it might not seem to be the case, find it relatively commonplace.
There are other choices of generating the sample at the fertility center. The sample can be derived away from the healthcare setting and taken to the clinic in a special sterile bottle. This is as long as the duration to travel and deliver the sample is within an hour.
Masturbation is not necessary to obtain the sample. Instead, your partner can accompany you to the clinic, and special condoms will be given to collect the sample.
Usually, if you are nervous and have trouble generating a sample, a couple of hours break, including a stroll or a movie, can be beneficial. You should thus ensure that you notify the physician in charge so that they can change the laboratory schedule.
An advanced fertility center will even freeze the semen. This could be useful as a backup in case something goes wrong on the day of the egg retrieval from your partner. You should, however, note that sperm freezing can reduce sperm motility, and ICSI (intracytoplasmic sperm injection) might be necessary.
The testicles, pituitary gland, and hypothalamus all produce hormones that are essential for sexual growth and sperm production. Other hormone or organ system abnormalities can also lead to infertility issues. In most cases, a blood test determines the testosterone level and other hormones in the body.
This test generates pictures of the inside part of the body by using high-frequency sound waves. A scrotal ultrasound will enable the doctor to check if you have a varicocele or any other issue with the testicles or supporting structures.
In the rectum, a thin, lubricated wand is implanted. This enables the doctor to examine the prostate and find blockages in the channels that transport sperm.
Biopsy of the testicles:
Testicle biopsy involves the use of a needle to extract samples in the testicles. At times, the testicular biopsy findings reveal that sperm development is natural. This thus means that the issue is most likely caused by a blockage or some issues with sperm movement.
Sperm traces in the urine may mean that the sperm are going back into your bladder rather than out of the penis during ejaculation. This condition is known as retrograde ejaculation.
Nearly one of every seven couples experience fertility problems. This means they have not been able to have a child despite having regular, unprotected sex for a year or more. Male infertility can play a role in up to half of these couples. The possible causes of the issue include low production of sperms, irregular sperm function, and blockage preventing sperm delivery.
While there are various options to solving fertility issues in men, the specialists often recommend male pre-cycle screening tests. This involves a thorough assessment of the problem in order to identify the underlying cause. Screening is also helpful in determining the appropriate assistive reproductive technique.