LCHM Summer 2017 - 9

L C M E D S O C .O R G

MALE
INFERTILITY
affects couples' ability to conceive
BY WENDY J. SCHILLINGS, MD

A

pproximately 15 percent of couples, or one
in six, have difficulty becoming pregnant.
Evaluation of both partners is advised if
a couple has not conceived after one year
of trying, or after six months if the women is over
35 years old. More than 50 percent of the time, a
male infertility factor is contributing to the couple's
inability to conceive.
A semen analysis is used to evaluate sperm. This test
looks at multiple factors, including the number of sperm,
semen volume, white blood cell count, agglutination,
sperm shape (morphology) and the quality of sperm
movement (motility). Appropriate abstinence of two to
seven days is advised to prevent abnormalities resulting
from sperm not having enough time to recover versus
old sperm, which may die in the testes.

Semen analysis can vary greatly from specimen to
specimen. All men, on average, will have an abnormal
semen analysis 20 percent of the time, so if the first
sample is abnormal, a repeat semen analysis should
be performed at least one month after the initial test.
Other testing, such as antisperm antibody testing,
testicular ultrasound, urine and semen cultures,
and genetic and hormone testing may be advised
to determine the cause of male infertility.
Male factor infertility is typically due to low sperm
quality or quantity. When a male has an abnormal
semen analysis, it is often difficult to know the exact
origin of the abnormality.
Continued on page 10
SUMMER 2017 | Lehigh County Health & Medicine 9


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