Most men will initially be diagnosed with a potential male factor problem based on the results of an ejaculated sperm specimen. Values tested in the Sperm Analysis, as defined by the World Health Organization (WHO), include:
An parameter in the Semen Analysis is the morphology, or shape of the sperm. The shape of the sperm is a reflection of proper sperm development in the testicle, or spermatogenesis. Men with a defect in sperm maturation tend to have problems with sperm morphology and may then be at risk for failure of their sperm to fertilize their partner’s eggs.
Once an abnormal finding on a Semen Analysis is identified, the male partner should be referred to an urologist for an examination and a review of his medical history. Usually a repeat Semen Analysis will be recommended by the urologist, as there is significant variability from specimen to specimen. The urologist will usually want to examine a urine sample to rule out infection or evidence of kidney or bladder problems.
If the size of the testicles is less than expected, the male will be tested for hormone levels, and he will also be examined to see if he might have a varicocele, a set of dilated veins in the scrotum that is associated with infertility. If a blockage of the sperm collection or transport system anatomy is suspected, additional tests may be recommended.