Since so much attention is paid to women’s fertility, it is easy to forget that men experience fertility problems as well. We’ve talked about the emotional impact on men before, but what should you expect when you step into that clinic for the first time? Men, let’s take a look at what a trip to the fertility clinic is like from your perspective.
Tests for Infertility
Your fertility testing starts with a physical examination, and then you will proceed to a semen analysis to check the quantity and quality of your sperm. The collection can be an embarrassing process. It’s important to remember, though, that the doctors and nurses are professionals, and they are there to provide ways to help you get pregnant.
We’ve discussed in another blog some things you can do to prepare for your appointment to make the process more successful. But at the clinic, it’s best to get out of that busy mindset. Relax as much as you can and remember that you are working toward your goal of having a baby.
When you meet with your fertility specialist to discuss the results of your semen analysis, don’t be afraid to ask questions. The test will give your doctor an estimate of your sperm count, as well as sperm health indicators like motility and morphology. When they relate this information to you, you should follow up on figures you may not understand. Having a good idea of what’s going on in your body will help clear up anxiety and let you make more informed decisions about treatment.
Treatment for Male Infertility
Depending on the cause of a fertility issue, you may undergo different forms of treatment. Surgery can be used to remove obstructions keeping sperm from properly traveling out of the body or abnormal blood vessels that may constrict the testicles. Your doctor may instead prescribe medication for hormone-related problems. And of course, there may be lifestyle changes you can make at home to help improve your chances of having a baby.
However, if your condition would not respond to these common treatments, as is the case for genetic disorders and other causes of lifelong fertility problems, there are more advanced treatments available. This can be as sophisticated as selecting one sperm and injecting it directly into the egg — a technique called intracytoplasmic sperm injection (ICSI), which is especially effective in cases of male factor infertility.
Given the range of possible causes and potential treatments, you should consult with your doctor about your options and have your questions answered. If you want more information about improving fertility or tips for conceiving, follow us on Facebook and Twitter, or sign up for our newsletter below.