Male reproductive tract investigation

In contrast to the vast majority of women, most men do not routinely undergo reproductive tract investigation or fertility assessment. This is a rather unfortunate fact, since almost half of all infertility cases involve male factor infertility, which may have been discovered and addressed sooner, if prior assessment had been performed. Additionally, proper and timely male reproductive tract investigation may diagnose and assist in the treatment of sexual dysfunctions as well.

Male reproductive tract investigation involves the following:

1) Medical history

Prior incidents involving trauma in the testicular area, chronic symptoms, occupational factors and hazards and lifestyle factors are but a few useful pieces of information that may lead to the diagnosis and treatment of common male infertility causes.

2) Physical examination

Simple physical assessment of the male genitalia by an Andrologist may reveal underlying, asymptomatic conditions that are associated with infertility, such as varicocele.

3) Laboratory investigations

These tests provide the most amount of information regarding the male fertility status and are always performed as part of the initial fertility investigation of the couple. These may vary from very basic tests, such as semen analysis and sperm culture, to more advanced techniques such as DNA fragmentation and oxidative stress assessment.

4) Imaging investigations

These constitute and extension of the physical examination into the internal structure and function of the male reproductive tract and may greatly assist in diagnostic anatomic causes of male infertility (see Ultrasound).