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Infertility and Men
Male infertility is a lot more common than many believe. According to the American Society of Reproductive Medicine, infertility affects men and women equally.
If your female partner is under the age of 35 and you have been trying to conceive for one year, or is she is over 35 and you have been trying to conceive for six months, you and your partner should see a physician for a fertility “workup.”
The Fertility Workup
Many men feel embarrassed about fertility testing, but early testing is vital to diagnosing a potential problem. Your partner’s obstetrician/gynecologist may do the fertility workup, or refer you to a reproductive endocrinologist (RE), a physician dedicated to the treatment of fertility issues.
Many couples prefer to be proactive by visiting a specialist at the onset, to avoid any further delay in starting a family. An RE deals with reproductive health and fertility issues on a regular basis, and can identify medical problems that may exist and discuss treatment options that may be appropriate. In addition, you may get a referral to a urologist, a physician dedicated to the area of urology and male reproductive health.
Upon your initial visit with the RE or urologist, he/she will first perform a physical exam as well as a very basic test referred to as semen analysis. Semen analysis measures the amount of semen produced and determines how many viable sperm are found in the semen. The semen sample may be produced at home or in the physician’s office and then sent to a lab for testing. If the test is “normal” the urologist will likely confirm the results with a second test. If the test reflects an “abnormal” semen analysis, the physician will likely perform more tests in order to properly diagnose the problem and then work with you to set up an adequate treatment plan that is best for you and your partner.