Fertility Testing for Men

Male Fertility Assessment & Testing

Fertility testing is often the first step toward overcoming any medical obstacles to have the family you’ve always wanted. Male infertility is a factor in almost half of all patient cases. In most situations, it can be successfully treated, managed or reversed.

This page outlines common fertility testing for men and the processes involved. Your physician and nursing team will discuss which ones may be a fit for you.

Common Fertility Tests for Men

At your initial consultation, the doctor will order testing based on a review of your medical history. These tests help determine whether hormonal imbalances are present and will also examine sperm count, motility and morphology. Factors that are observed during these tests include sperm number, sperm concentration, sperm shape, and more.

Evaluation of Semen and Sperm

Semen Assessment
A semen assessment evaluates certain characteristics of a male’s semen and the sperm contained therein. Key components of a semen analysis include assessment of sperm count, motility and morphology.
Sperm Count
A sperm count measures the concentration of sperm in the ejaculate. A count of 15 million per milliliter or greater is considered within normal parameters.
Sperm Motility

Sperm motility is the evaluation of the percentage of sperm moving normally. Motility can be further categorized into progressive motility and non-progressive motility which distinguishes the pattern of movement of the sperm. The sperm must move in a certain pattern to be able to penetrate the egg.

Sperm Morphology
Sperm morphology refers to the shape of your sperm. The shape of the sperm matters, since it can impact the sperm’s ability to penetrate the egg. This test can help determine if morphology is playing a role in any fertility challenges.
Sperm DNA Fragmentation Index (DFI) Test
DNA fragmentation in sperm may occur due to a variety of factors, such as smoking, air pollution, disease, diet, drug use, elevated testicular temperature, and age. The sperm DNA fragmentation index (DFI) test observes the DNA of the sperm and determines if there is abnormal genetic material within the sperm. These factors can contribute to infertility, miscarriage, and IVF or IUI failure.

Blood Tests to Assess Hormones

Hormones play a significant role in sperm production and fertility. Blood tests conducted at your initial assessment will observe various hormone levels, including testosterone, luteinizing hormone (LH), follicle stimulating hormone (FSH), prolactin, and thyroid stimulating hormone (TSH). These tests may further indicate if any physiological problems are present.

Additional Fertility Testing

If you and your partner’s tests come back normal and a cause of infertility has not been identified, then, further testing may be required. 

Transrectal Ultrasound
This type of ultrasound involves the insertion of a wand into the rectum. It allows your fertility specialist to view the prostate and determine if there are any obstructions or blockages. If so, treatment will be tailored to treat these specific issues. We have expert ultrasound resources for this rare procedure.
Post-Ejaculation Urinalysis
A post-ejaculation urinalysis shows if retrograde ejaculation is occurring. This means that the sperm are travelling backwards into the bladder, as opposed to the penis. If found, then certain medications may be prescribed.
Testicular Biopsy
If there is a low sperm count present in previous tests, a testicular biopsy can provide more information regarding the absence of sperm in the ejaculatory fluid. From this test, factors such as abnormal sperm production or obstructions in the sperm path can be determined.
Genetic Tests
A low sperm count may be a result of genetic abnormalities. Further testing can be done to determine if there are any changes in the Y chromosome. Depending on the couple’s medical history, this may be performed early on, or in later stages.

The Right Fertility Treatment for You

The first step is to get assessed by an expert who will know what — and when — to test you and/or your partner. At Ontario Fertility Network, we conduct a thorough fertility assessment to create the right treatment plan, guiding you toward the family you’ve always wanted.

Start your fertility journey by filling out our online form.


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Erin Stewart