Male infertility is when a man has a health issue that lowers the chances of getting his female partner pregnant. It's most often caused by issues linked to sperm production or sperm delivery. The path to finding out why you are having trouble with fertility starts with a physical exam and questions about your medical history. It may also include blood work and ultrasound and semen tests.
Your health care provider will ask about childhood illnesses, current health problems or medications that might harm sperm production or delivery. They will also ask about your use of alcohol, tobacco, marijuana and other recreational drugs.
There are workplace hazards, such as being exposed to ionizing radiation, heavy metals or pesticides that can affect fertility. This means your doctor may ask about your work history and lifestyle. He or she will also ask if you have sexual problems, such as trouble with erections.
The physical exam will search for problems in your penis, epididymis, vas deferens and testicles. Your doctor will also look for varicoceles. A varicocele is when veins become enlarged inside your scrotum, and can be found easily with a physical exam. Visit UrologyHealth.org to learn more about these tests and fertility issues in men.
Dr. Tobias Köhler is Associate Professor & Residency Program Director at Southern Illinois University (SIU), Division of Urology. He is also Chief, Division of Male Infertility, SIU Fertility and IVF Clinic.