Male infertility plays a role in approximately half of couples who have trouble getting pregnant. These issues include:
Producing little or no sperm
Blockage in the tract that carries sperm from the testes
Many of these causes are treatable if you work with an experienced specialist. UI Health Care is home to the state's only urologist currently practicing with fellowship training in male infertility.
This intensive training and highly specialized focus mean that you'll get the most advanced diagnosis and treatment.
Together with UI Health Care's experts in reproductive endocrinology, our team has helped parents welcome thousands of healthy babies.
Our approach to male infertility testing
With compassion and skill, our team is dedicated to finding out what's causing your fertility issues. We’ll then work on finding a solution to help you build your family.
Before your first appointment
The process begins with semen analysis. This lab test examines a sample of your semen under a microscope.
We ask to see two semen analysis tests from the past year. Ideally, the tests should be conducted about one month apart.
If you've already had one semen analysis elsewhere, you can have the results sent to us. We'll schedule your second test for the day of your appointment.
If you haven't had a semen analysis yet, we can schedule two tests for you at UI Hospitals & Clinics. The second test will be about one month after the first.
In either case, you can have your second test the same day as your appointment. Our lab processes the sample and sends the results immediately.
Your first appointment
Your first appointment will include a physical exam and a conversation about your family history and other topics, including:
Your medical history, beginning in childhood
Any past surgeries, such as a previous hernia repair
Your sexual history
Information about ongoing medical conditions such as diabetes, multiple sclerosis, neurologic disease, or previous treatment for cancer
In combination with the results of your semen analysis, this appointment will help your provider decide whether you need additional tests.
On-site experts in fertility testing and sperm banking
You'll have your tests on campus at the UI Health Care reproductive testing lab. The lab focuses exclusively on fertility issues in men.
In addition to helping diagnose and treat the causes of infertility, the lab also:
Collaboration means convenient care and effective treatment
Our male infertility specialist has worked closely with the UI Health Care fertility and reproductive endocrinology team for two decades.
Together, they seamlessly coordinate care for you and your partner.
For your convenience, they can schedule your appointments at UI Hospitals & Clinics for the same day. And they'll ensure that sperm retrieval happens at the exact time it's needed for an IUI or IVF procedure.
Types of male infertility testing offered by UI Health Care
The following tests may be able to pinpoint the cause of your fertility issues:
Seminal fluid analysis (SFA): Shows how many sperm you have and how well they move. It also checks other components of semen.
Morphology: Looks at sperm shape.
Testing for white blood cells: The presence of these cells in seminal fluid can indicate an infection.
Post-ejaculate urine analysis: After you provide your sperm sample, the lab may have you also give a urine sample. They'll test it to see whether sperm are being released backward into your bladder. Our experts can recover sperm from urine for IUI or IVF.
Semen fructose and pH (degree of acidity): Abnormalities can point to an obstruction along the reproductive tract.
Sperm viability stain: Shows the percentage of live sperm in a specimen.
If your provider suspects you could have a hormonal or genetic condition, you may also have blood drawn for testing.
Providing a semen sample at the UI Health Care andrology lab
The UI Health Care andrology lab is set up for your comfort. Here's what to expect—and how to prepare—when providing a semen sample.
Before you arrive for your test, don't ejaculate for two to seven days.
The lab team will ask you a few health questions. Be sure to tell them if you've had any health issues, like a fever, in the past three to six months. Also, let them know if you're taking any medicines.
You'll be shown to a comfortable, private room. Your partner may go with you if you wish.
You'll provide your sample by masturbation. Collect your sample in the container that the lab gives you. If you use any other container, your test results won't be valid.
Make sure you collect all the semen you ejaculate. Tell the lab technician if you didn't collect a full sample.
After your semen analysis
Your semen analysis results might prompt your provider to order additional tests.
These may include special imaging, genetic testing, hormone tests, or a procedure to take a sperm sample directly from your testicles.
Your provider will work closely with you and with your partner's fertility specialist on a plan for achieving a successful pregnancy.
Unique procedures to increase chances of pregnancy
To improve your odds of conceiving, UI Health Care offers a variety of microsurgical procedures that require specific training and experience.
For example, if your semen samples don't contain sperm, you have options. Our specialist can perform a microsurgical procedure to find and extract small amounts of sperm directly from the testes.
We’ll carefully coordinate sperm retrieval with your partner's cycle of in-vitro fertilization.