Male infertility

A common misconception about infertility is that it’s a female problem. In fact, in approximately 40% of couples seen by the MFC, the issue is male infertility.

During the initial infertility work-up, one of the first tests done is a semen analysis. This simple test provides information about sperm count, motility, and morphology (shape). It does not, however, offer any information about the sperm’s ability to fertilize. The only way to verify the sperm’s fertilization capability is by in-vitro fertilization (IVF) or by a previous pregnancy.

At the MFC, semen samples are also tested for anti-sperm antibodies, which are relatively rare but can affect the sperm’s ability to fertilize an egg. We also recommend that men have a sperm chromatin structure assay test to look at DNA fragmentation. This test can offer more insight into sperm quality compared to a standard semen sample.

Sperm is usually collected via ejaculation, but some men may require testicular aspiration or biopsy to retrieve their sperm. Men requiring aspiration or biopsy usually have had a previous vasectomy or are born with congenital absence of the vas deferens (the duct allowing the sperm to exit the testicles).