Male factor can contribute to a couple’s infertility in up to 40% of cases. Abnormalities in sperm number and/or function may significantly reduce sperm’s ability to fertilize an egg. Therefore, a comprehensive evaluation of the male patient is an essential part of the infertility work-up. The initial analysis for male factor involves a thorough medical and reproductive history evaluation. Often times, risk factors for male factor infertility could be determined through interview alone. The simplest manner in which to diagnose male subfertility is a semen analysis. A semen analysis analyzes the ejaculate volume, sperm concentration, sperm motility, sperm morphology (shape), as well as other parameters such as pH and the presence or absence of agglutination. A patient’s history may suggest additional advanced testing for factors such as antisperm antibodies, abnormal sperm DNA fragmentation/stainability, abnormal sperm decondensation, and/or a central hormonal imbalance. The medical interview, semen analysis and additional tests can determine whether urological evaluation is necessary as well as suggest a specific treatment. In general, if a mild abnormality is diagnosed (i.e. mildly reduced sperm count or motility), an appropriate treatment may be an intrauterine insemination (IUI). More severe abnormalities may be treated with in vitro fertilization and intracytoplasmic sperm injection (see “our services”). Hormonal imbalances may often be treated medically.
At the California Center for Reproductive Health, the potential significant contribution of male factor to a couple's infertility is recognized, and special attention is paid to a comprehensive evaluation of the male partner.