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Male Fertility Testing

Specimen Drop-off Instructions

Painless, Discrete Fertility Testing

Male factor infertility is one of the most common causes of infertility so it is extremely important to evaluate the male early when searching for a cause of the couple’s inability to conceive. Generally, the work-up of the male begins with a semen analysis. Depending on the results of a semen analysis, we may recommend bloodwork or an examination by a urologist. Sometimes an actual "cause" for the male infertility can be identified, but more commonly no explanation is found. Although the lack of diagnosis can be frustrating, success rates with treatment is high.

Patient History

It is extremely important to review the medical history of the male partner of an infertile couple. Some men may have a history of sexual dysfunction or abnormal ejaculation. Some are taking medications or hormones that interfere.

Semen Analysis

The initial diagnostic study of male infertility is the semen analysis. The analysis is generally performed on a specimen that has been produced by means of masturbation into a sterile specimen container. For those men who are unable or unwilling to masturbate, special semen collection devices, which are used like condoms, can also be used to collect sperm for analysis. Ideally the male should abstain from ejaculation for 2-5 days prior to the analysis. The specimen should be evaluated within one hour from production.

A sperm test analysis will provide information on:

  • Basic measurements of the volume (in milliliters).
  • The percentage of the sperm which are moving (motility) and the quality of the movement.
  • The quality of the movement of the sperm, described as the “progression”.
  • The shape of the sperm (morphology).

Labs may also report other parameters such as the pH, viscosity, agglutination, color of the semen, or the viability (percentage of sperm which are alive and dead).

Hormonal and Genetic Bloodwork

If the concentration (“count”) of the sperm is low in the semen analysis, hormonal bloodwork will be ordered to determine if a central (brain) or testicular explanation can be found. If the concentration is extremely low (<5 Million/ml), genetic testing may be recommended (karyotype, Y chromosome microdeletion testing.)


Some male infertility patients will be referred to an urologist for evaluation. Via exam and sometimes, ultrasound, the urologist will ensure that all pelvic structures are normal and that no blockages, masses or dilated blood vessels (varicocele) are present. A large varicocele may decrease sperm number and/or quality and can be a surgically correctable problem. Unfortunately, in the majority of cases of abnormal sperm parameters, a "cause" is never identified.

While we work with a number of experienced urologists to serve our male patient population, we are partnered with Posterity for our male patients, including all of our Progyny patients. Posterity offers at-home and virtual care options, as well as in-person consultations and procedures.

To learn more about this partnership, please click here.

Additional Diagnostics

There are many other diagnostic tests offered to evaluate infertility in males. Some may be useful in very specific situations, such as a DNA integrity testing.

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