A Guide to Fertility Tests for Men in the UK
A large number of men, or nonbinary or transgender people who were male at birth, will find that taking the first step towards parenthood requires some help. This often means having a fertility test. However, not everyone preparing to do this will know what it means or involves. This is why we have created a guide on getting a fertility test for men in the UK.
Read on to learn more about what takes place during a male fertility test, why you should consider getting one, and how to get one by asking your doctor. You can also learn more about the tests and assessments that we have available here at GENNET City Fertility.
What is a Fertility Test for Men?
A fertility test for men is a test or assessment designed to measure the fertility of a man or someone nonbinary or transgender who was male at birth. The primary focus of the test will be the health and concentration of a patient’s sperm, as these are often the most common factors involved in male infertility.
When Should Men Consider Getting a Fertility Test?
NHS doctors recommend getting a fertility test if you have been trying to conceive naturally for over a year and haven’t managed to do so. This time frame falls to 6 months if you have a female partner over the age of 35.
It’s also strongly advised that you consult a professional if you have taken a home fertility test for men.
Reasons to Consider Getting a Male Fertility Test
Experts will always recommend that both men and women, as well as nonbinary and transgender people looking to conceive, seek medical advice when they and their partner (if they have one) are having trouble getting pregnant. Often, the male partner is overlooked for assessment when fertility treatment is carried out, only being asked to provide a semen sample to use in IVF.
By overlooking the male partner, many overlook the possibility of male factor infertility and its role in the difficulties a couple may have in conceiving. Male factor infertility is present in around 50% of couples seeking treatment, and it’s believed that up to 7% of men worldwide may have issues with their fertility. By only testing the female partner, it is possible to miss potential reasons a couple may be having issues with conceiving.
Getting a fertility test for men may allow for:
- Existing conditions to be treated, which may allow you and a female partner to conceive naturally
- Unknown diseases to be diagnosed which, in addition to causing fertility problems, can also have a serious negative impact on your general health
- Genetic disorders to be uncovered, which may cause birth defects, as well as infertility
- The success rate of IVF treatments to improve
- The downgrade of fertility treatment from IVF to artificial insemination, as carrying out the test may result in you being offered advice or treatments that improve semen quality
How to Get a Fertility Test for Men in the UK
If you have been trying to conceive naturally for a year or more without success, the first step towards getting a fertility test is to speak to your GP. The NHS also recommends doing this if you have any other reason to be concerned about your fertility, such as if you have previously undergone cancer treatment or you think you might have a sexually transmitted infection (STI).
Your GP may begin by asking questions about:
- Your medical history
- Your sexual history
- Whether or not you have had children from previous relationships
- How long you have been trying to conceive
- Any medications you are taking
- Your lifestyle (this includes questions on alcohol intake, recreational drugs, and whether or not you smoke)
- Your weight
- Your current general mood, and whether or not you’re under stress
After you have provided answers to these questions, the doctor may follow this up with a physical examination or referral for further testing. The physical examination will be carried out on your genital area, and will generally involve them looking at:
- Your testicles to check for lumps or deformities
- Your penis to check its shape and structure, and to look for any obvious abnormalities
What Your GP Will Do Next
Once the physical examination has been carried out, your doctor may refer you to a specialist team at an NHS hospital, or a clinic such as GENNET City Fertility, for further fertility testing. This testing may involve semen analysis or checking a sample of urine for the presence of chlamydia. If you have chlamydia, your doctor will prescribe antibiotics for its treatment.
Is There a Fertility Test for Men at Home?
There are home testing kits available for men online and in pharmacies. These will usually require the patient to ejaculate into a collection cup, to measure their sperm count. Procedures for transferring and completing the test will vary between brands and test types, but most are designed to offer the patient results within a few minutes.
Home fertility tests for men normally work by identifying a protein found only in sperm, thereby indicating whether or not the person has a low sperm count. However, it must also be noted that a lot of the tests available are basic and not designed to test every factor involved in diagnosing male infertility, beyond the number of sperm produced in a single semen sample. This means that they are unlikely to tell you whether or not you are fertile.
Recent international guidelines have also stated that any sperm count above 15 million sperm per millilitre of semen is normal. This conflicts with the information that many home fertility tests for men provide, as a number of them state that anything under 20 million is a cause for concern.
If you decide to take a home sperm count test to help measure your fertility, ensure that you are following the instructions exactly. Any results that you get from the test can then be discussed in consultation with a fertility specialist, who can offer you a wider range of tests that will cover infertility factors not covered by a home test kit. This is the most reliable way to determine whether or not you are having fertility problems.
Our Male Fertility Assessment at GENNET City Fertility
The most popular and regularly offered assessment we provide for men, or for nonbinary or transgender patients who were assigned male at birth, is our Male Fertility Assessment.
This quick, straightforward procedure will always begin with a professional semen assessment, which is a measure of a patient’s:
- Sperm count (sperm concentration, or how many sperm cells there are, within a sample of semen)
- Sperm morphology (the shape of the cells)
- Sperm motility (the cells’ ability to move)
To proceed with this test, patients will be required to abstain from intercourse, or any other form of ejaculation, for 2 to 4 days before their scheduled appointment. They will then produce their semen sample via masturbation, in the privacy of one of our rooms at our clinic.
When this sample is collected, our team will test it to the parameters mentioned above. These will help us to either determine or rule out factors which could indicate an issue and may help us to predict your chances of conceiving naturally.
Your Assessment Result
After your assessment has been carried out, our specialist will contact you via email or over the phone to explain your results. They will then offer advice on lifestyle changes that may have an impact on your ability to conceive naturally or suggest further tests, investigations, or treatments that may help you to manage, circumvent, or overcome problems with your fertility.
A fertility treatment from our list of treatment options may then be what you need to take the next step on the road to parenthood.
Our Comprehensive Male Fertility Clinic
If you are interested in a quicker examination that covers a broad range of potential health concerns, you may wish to consider booking a spot in our Comprehensive Male Fertility Clinic. These weekly sessions are run by our Head Urologist and Andrologist, Mr Raheem, and will last for around 45 to 60 minutes. During this time, you will receive:
- A scrotal scan to help rule out testis cancer
- A semen assessment, as you would receive with a Male Fertility Assessment
- Time in consultation with a specialist urologist and andrologist
Once our specialist has received the results of the tests and assessments carried out in this session, they will be able to offer you general advice based on what can be seen.
Our Other Male Investigations
We also offer a range of other male investigations that can help to detect problems with sperm, infections, or issues with testosterone and other hormones that affect sperm production. These may include tests on semen culture, which help to exclude chronic infections, and sperm DNA fragmentation, which looks at every part of sperm cells to check the genetic material they are carrying.
How Much will a Fertility Test for Men Cost?
The cost of a male fertility test will ordinarily vary from clinic to clinic, but GENNET City Fertility can offer a Male Fertility Assessment for £185. This includes an extended semen assessment (the semen analysis and fertility check), as well as the follow-up consultation that patients will have with one of our specialists once the test has been conducted and the results are in.
If you are interested in attending the Comprehensive Male Fertility Clinic, you should know that this will cost £290. This may be more than simply having a Male Fertility Assessment carried out, but the session will come with everything you need to make the best, most informed decision about your fertility and what you can do to improve your fertility potential.
Our accepted payment methods for these are debit and credit cards (American Express only up to £750 per invoice) and bank transfers. There will be no need to worry about this before your consultation, however, as we will discuss the cost and payment terms with you in more depth when you visit.
Book a Consultation with Us
Whether you know you are ready to begin the journey to parenthood, feel that you would like to at some point, or even if you are simply looking out for every aspect of your health, GENNET City Fertility is here to help. No matter if you’re doing this on your own or with a partner, you can feel confident knowing that we’ll offer all the advice and professional support you need at a time that can be overwhelming.
Our team will even be glad to arrange a free, 30-minute mini consultation with one of our specialists as soon as you get in touch. In this session, you’ll get the chance to get a feel for our clinic and to meet our team before an initial assessment is carried out. You will then be offered further information on the fertility tests, assessments, and treatments we can provide if you decide that you would like to take the next steps in improving your fertility with us.