Male Fertility Tests
Waterstone Clinic offers a range of treatments to men, such as exploring your fertility potential, fertility treatments, and freezing services. When couples are examining their fertility, male partners are also investigated for subfertility. You can refer yourself, or your GP/consultant can refer you for a consultation with one of our fertility specialists.
Fertility Testing for Men
At Waterstone Clinic, we offer two kinds of fertility testing:
- Semen Analysis, and phone consultation with an Andrologists (male health specialist) to discuss the results
- Semen Analysis, and a detailed medical consultation with one of our consultants.
These tests can help you assess your fertility potential when you are making choices concerning your future, and enable you to protect your health so that you can conceive when you decide the time is right. These tests will also allow you to decide if sperm freezing might be an option for you. Read more about freezing services here.
What is a Semen Analysis?
Semen analysis provides vital information on the quantity and quality of sperm within a semen sample. It is essential to carry out semen analysis at the very start of any investigative process. Our andrologists (male health specialists) will examine the following:
- Count – the number of sperm present
- Motility – the sperm’s ability to swim
- Morphology – the shape of the sperm
If the results of a semen analysis demonstrate that the sperm is not of good quality, there are additional non-routine blood tests that can be performed.
- FSH: If semen analysis results are abnormal, blood tests may be taken for levels of testosterone, FSH and LH. A raised FSH level may be an indication of testicular failure.
- Blood Karyotyping: A test which involves looking at the chromosomes of cells. It involves counting the number of chromosomes in a cell or looking for abnormalities in the structure of chromosomes.
- Y Chromosome Microdeletion: If there is an abnormality of the Y chromosome, it can be passed from men to their sons, causing them to be infertile.
- Cystic Fibrosis Carrier Screening: Cystic fibrosis (CF) is a genetic condition that affects the respiratory system. About two-thirds of men who have an abnormal CF gene will also have congenital absence of the vas deferens (a condition where the sperm ducts do not develop properly). Therefore, sperm is not carried from the testicles to become part of semen, resulting in azoospermia (the absence of sperm in the semen).
Screening blood tests (not required routinely)
The following tests may be required where the semen analysis is suboptimal.
DNA fragmentation test
Testing for sperm DNA fragmentation is similar to the regular method of semen analysis at a fertility clinic. A semen sample is obtained and is sent to a sperm DNA fragmentation centre for testing. This is a relatively new and expensive test that examines the DNA of sperm (sperm DNA health) with a view to determining the best treatment method. It has yet to be established as a clinically significant test.
If semen analysis results are abnormal, blood tests may be taken for levels of testosterone, FSH and LH. A raised FSH level may be an indication of testicular failure.
Blood karyotyping is a test which involves looking at the chromosomes of cells. It involves counting the number of chromosomes in a cell or looking for abnormalities in the structure of chromosomes.
Y chromosome microdeletion
An abnormality of the Y chromosome may be the cause of oligospermia or azoospermia. This abnormality is passed from men to their sons, causing their sons to be infertile.
Cystic Fibrosis carrier screening
Cystic fibrosis (CF) is a genetic condition which affects the respiratory system. CF is an inherited disorder which may be passed from parents to their children. The cause of CF is a defect in a gene called the cystic fibrosis transmembrane conductance regulator (CFTR) gene. A person who has only one copy of this altered gene is called a ‘carrier’ and will not have any symptoms of the condition. However if they have a child with a partner who is also a ‘carrier’ there is a 1 in 4 chance that their child will be born with CF. Cystic fibrosis carrier testing tells you your risk of carrying an altered CF gene. It can also tell you your chance of having a child with CF. However it does not tell you if your child will have CF.
CF carrier screening is also important as about two thirds of men who have an abnormal CF gene will also have congenital absence of the vas deferens (a condition where the sperm ducts do not develop properly). Therefore, sperm is not carried from the testicles to become part of semen, resulting in azoospermia.