If you and your partner have been trying and struggling to conceive for a very long time, your doctor may tell you that you or your partner or both of you are subfertile. Now, subfertile may sound like an alien term and you may easily confuse it with infertility. Subfertility, however, means that you are less fertile as compared to others but still have fair chances of getting pregnant.
Being subfertile means that you may get pregnant on your own, although it may take longer compared with others. Subfertility in men is more common than in females. Getting to know the term for the first time may discourage you. With proper diagnosis and treatment, however, this can be treated.
Fertility Testing in Men
Male fertility testing is similar to other body checkups and there is nothing to be worried about. Once you visit the doctor, he will first understand your past medical history thoroughly. This gives the doctor an idea of any underlying disease or genetic inherited condition that may affect fertility. The doctor will further analyze the genital area to check for signs of injuries or infections.
As male fertility depends highly on the quality and quantity of semen. Hence, a semen analysis is conducted to determine the concentration, shape, motility, and infections of sperm in the semen. In some cases, the doctor may run the test more than once to accurately determine the condition.
Sperm Function Tests
Some other tests may also be performed to check the motility of sperm after ejaculation. These tests determine the ability of sperm to penetrate the egg and the amount of sperm attaching to the egg.
A scrotal ultrasound is performed to look for the signs of varicocele or other diseased conditions associated with testes.
A blood test is also performed to check the levels of testosterone and other hormones affecting fertility.
In some cases, a small amount of semen may be present in the urine. If present, this accounts for retrograde ejaculation which affects fertility. Hence, this test is performed to confirm the condition.
In most cases, a lower sperm count is because of inherited or genetic conditions. Hence, a genetic blood test is performed to check for signs of genetic abnormalities or other congenital disorders.
Treatments for Male Subfertility
Male subfertility is common and it can be treated. Based on your condition, the doctor may advise the following treatment procedures:
Intra-Cytoplasmic Sperm Injection (ICSI): It is a process in which a single sperm is injected directly into the egg using a fine glass needle. The egg is retrieved from the woman and fertilized with the sperm. This technique is usually recommended when previous fertilization processes such as IVF have failed.
Intracytoplasmic Morphologically Sealed Sperm Injection (IMSI): This is an advanced form of ICSI in which a specially selected sperm is directly injected into a mature egg.