A quick way to tell if a man is (in)fertile

Women are the most likely to seek medical attention for infertility, but specialists are increasingly turning to men and suggesting that they should be the first to be tested.  According to statistics, infertility affects about one-fifth of families in Lithuania who want to have children.

It is now observed that every second couple that presents for fertility treatment is also diagnosed with a male fertility disorder. Therefore, specialists recommend that men should not wait to have their fertility checked, and should have hormonal and semen tests as a preventive measure or even before starting a family. Timely tests help to detect early prostate problems and preserve fertility, and in the event of fertility problems, to quickly identify the causes and find solutions.

 The first step is a simple test at home

Seminal fluid (semen) analysis. It can be short, informative and done right at home. It involves collecting ejaculate by masturbation in a sterile container and mixing it with a chemical substance. After dropping it on the cartridge, the result is monitored and indicates whether the quality of the semen is good. 

 It is important to know that home tests do not detect all possible aspects of male infertility: sperm motility (motility (speed) is important for a good fertility result), morphology, liquefaction time, ductility, etc. It is therefore advisable not to limit oneself to a single test, but to seek medical advice for a more detailed examination.

Professional fertility testing

To find out the possible causes of a man's infertility, a comprehensive semen analysis, also known as a spermogram, is performed. This analyses the amount of semen and its physical properties: pH, colour, smell, consistency and viscosity. The quantity and motility of the spermatozoa are assessed, their viability is tested, and their morphology is evaluated, i.e. whether there is any change in shape.

Fertility testing also includes a hormone level test. This test measures the levels of the two main hormones, Testosterone (T) and Follicle Stimulating Hormone (FSH). However, if indicated, other hormone tests may also be necessary: Luteinising Hormone (LH), Estradiol and Prolactin. 

Looking for further causes of infertility may involve an ultrasound examination of the testicles and a myriad of more detailed tests, both hormonal and germ cell or genetic. Specialists reassure that even if abnormalities are found, they do not necessarily indicate a disease or complete infertility. What is needed is a precise analysis and active cooperation in treatment.

What habits can lead to male infertility?

Male infertility can be linked to various health problems or harmful habits. Cigarette and chemical smoking, regular heavy use of marijuana and other recreational drugs, alcohol, anabolic steroids and very intense sporting activity, environments with toxic substances, use of certain medications, and an unhealthy diet can all be factors that can affect fertility. Poor nutrition has been linked to the negative effects of free radicals on sperm. It is currently observed that free radicals ROS (reactive oxygen species) severely damage sperm DNA and shape.

Health experts note that stress, poor psychological well-being, tension, and conditions that raise blood pressure and weaken the immune system have a significant impact on fertility. Fluctuations in body temperature are also detrimental - physiologically, the temperature in the testicles of men is several degrees lower than the general body temperature, so any change in temperature has a strong impact on sperm development. It is therefore important to take care of your psychological health, a healthy and active lifestyle and a complete diet.

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