Hormone Blood Tests
FSH LH Prolactin and Testosterone hormone levels are tested to provide us with information on sperm health.
Other Blood tests
We routinely check for general health such as B12 folate, thyroid hormone, antibody screen as well as routine bloods like FBC, kidney, liver, cholesterol, iron levels and ferritin stores.
We refer all of our male patients for a semen analysis. A semen analysis test is largely the most important male fertility test. It provides us with a lot of information from the volume of semen produced in the ejaculate, to the semen consistency, pH of semen, and white blood cell count and the amount or numbers of sperm present in the sample. Furthermore, this test provides information on sperm shape or morphology and how the sperm are swimming or moving. All of these factors can affect the ability of sperm to travel and fertilize an egg.
Sometimes, low or nonexistent sperm counts are related to physiological problems that can be corrected with surgery or with medications. Physical examination and medical history is warranted to evaluate lifestyle factors, medications, or genetics that may be a leading cause for poor semen analsysis. Often referral to a Consultant Urologist Andrologist may be warranted in these specific cases.
In men with low sperm counts more investigations are required. An ultrasound of the testes can tell us if there is any obstructive measures at play for a low sperm count such as varicoceles. Referral to a Consultant Urologist may be required for specialist opinion.
Sperm DNA Fragmentation Test
A semen analysis tells us about the amount of sperm present in the ejaculate and how they move and swim. It does not, however, look at an invaluable componet, that is the genetic make up or DNA quality of the sperm. Patient’s with an abnormal semen analysis we will often refer for a DNA fragmentation test.
The DNA of sperm can be damaged during production and storage in the testes. This damage is referred to as fragmentation and can have a direct impact on the ability to achieve pregnancy, maintain a pregnancy and have a healthy baby. All sperm, even healthy sperm have a degree of fragmentation. It is how high this fragmentation is that matters.
Unlike women, who are born with all their eggs, Men have the ability to make new sperm every 3 months and research has shown that the quality of the DNA in a man’s sperm can improve with simple diet and lifestyle changes.