Male Fertility Tests: Ottawa Fertility Clinic

Tests to Check Male Fertility

About 1/3 of couples that experience infertility do so as a result of male-factor infertility. Surprisingly, another 1/3 of couples that experience infertility have a combination of both male and female factors contributing to infertility. However, the testing for male fertility is often very basic and not very thorough. 

A basic sperm analysis allows to check for 4 important variables:

1. Sperm Progressive Motility: this evaluates the percentage of sperm cells that exhibit healthy movement in a forward direction, and a low progressive sperm motility is diagnosed as asthenozoospermia.

2. Sperm Concentration: this evaluates for the number of sperm cells estimated to be contained per mL of ejaculate. Low sperm concentration is diagnosed as oligozoospermia. 

3. Normal Sperm Morphology: this test evaluates to see what percentage of sperm cells appear to look like healthy looking sperm cells (i.e. don't have two heads, have the correct sized cell, tail is attached correctly, and more). Low normal sperm morphology is called teratozoospermia.

4. Sperm Viability: this important test checks for what percentage of sperm cells is actually alive. In some cases, Males have lots of healthy looking sperm cells, but they are not actually alive. This is diagnosed as necrospermia. 

These 4 basic tests allow to determine if there are obvious causes for the infertility a couple is experiencing. It is important to check for all four.

Advanced Sperm Function Tests

An additional test which is gaining traction in fertility clinics is Sperm DNA Fragmentation testing. This is different from a genetic screen. The DNA fragmentation tests checks to see what percent of the DNA in sperm cells appears to have damage of "hairline fractures."

This is a vital test, especially for couples that have experienced recurrent miscarriage. Elevated sperm DNA fragmentation rates increase the risk of IVF failure and elevate the miscarriage risk in couples expecting within the first trimester. 

Treatments for Male Infertility

The treatment of male-factor infertility with naturopathic treatments is crucial, as the main treatment options are centre around improving overall health, reducing oxidative stress and inflammation, supporting optimal hormone function, and supporting healthy blood flow to the testes.

Treatments you should strongly consider for improving male fertility and improving sperm health parameters include:

1. Intravenous vitamin infusion therapy: this helps to deliver high dose antioxidants not possible with oral supplementation to improve sperm motility and normal sperm morphology. Antioxidants are also a crucial component for the treatment of elevated sperm DNA fragmentation rates.

2. Fertility Acupuncture: has been shown to help balance hormone levels, improve sperm concentration, and improve overall health.

3. Diet & Lifestyle Counselling: has been shown to significantly improve male fertility. This goes in-depth to the research where commonly considered healthy foods which can actually be harmful are discussed, and optimal dietary and lifestyle choices are discussed.

4. Clinical nutrition: helps to provide the necessary nutrients in high therapeutic doses to improve sperm concentration, testosterone production, sperm motility and improve normal sperm morphology.

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