Fertility tests

Fertility tests for men

Fertility tests for men

When a couple is struggling to conceive, certain fertility tests should be undertaken to find out if there is an underlying problem or pregnancy is just a matter of time.

Investigating male fertility is relatively straightforward (and certainly much simpler than investigating female fertility).

The investigation of a man’s fertility begins with a comprehensive medical history:

Topics that should be discussed with the doctor are the following (amongst others):

  • Involvement in any pregnancy in the past
  • Possible cryptorchidism
  • Infections during childhood
  • Pathological conditions (e.g. diabetes, cancer)
  • Medications
  • Smoking and alcohol
  • Frequency of intercourse
  • Possible sexual impotence


Sperm analysis is the most common (and often the only) fertility test performed on men. It is advisable for sperm analysis to be accompanied by sperm culture.

If this test is performed in a reliable lab and the results are normal, then usually this is the end of investigations for men (although there are some cases – e.g. older smokers – where a normal sperm analysis does not necessarily tell the whole story).

But if the results of sperm analysis are not the desirable ones, then there are other tests that are available:

  • Testicular ultrasound
  • Blood tests (e.g. FSH, LH, TSH, testosterone, prolactin)
  • Genetic tests (e.g. karyotyping, Y chromosome defects e.g. Yq-microdeletions, cystic fibrosis mutations)
  • More specialized sperm tests (e.g. DNA fragmentation and sperm FISH analysis)