Infertility can be an incredibly difficult puzzle to solve. That’s because the issue could be with you, your partner, or a combination of factors between you. Not to mention the fact that the chances of the issue being any of these are pretty even. Truly, solving a Rubik’s cube with your feet might be more simple than tracking down the reason you’re having trouble making a baby.
That said, there is a 40 percent chance the issue might rest on your, uh, shoulders. And yes, that does run counter to the popular story that infertility is a lady’s problem. So how do you figure out if you’re the one who’ll have to battle infertility? Consider the following and make an appointment with your doc.
So You Think You’re Infertile
First off, unless you’re super lucky with your timing, conception probably won’t happen the first time you take off the love glove. In fact, it might take a couple of months of regular sexytime for your boys to hit the bullseye.
That’s why infertility isn’t diagnosed until couples have failed to conceive after a full year of regular healthy unprotected sex. Which is to say, if you’re on month 6 and there’s no action, just keep up the good work and eat right. You still have time before the specter of infertility raises its ugly head.
What Is Male Infertility Exactly?
You basically need 3 things in order to get your lady pregnant:
- Your body needs to produce sperm. These little fellas need to be well-formed, fast and plentiful.
- Sperm need to be able to get into the semen that carries them ever onward to their eventual fate. Death for most, but victory for one.
- You need to be able to get an erection. You also need to be able to maintain that erection until climax gets everything on its way.
A failure at any of these junctures could lead to infertility. And there are plenty of things (many of which are rare) that could cause the intricate plumbing and necessary processes to break down. If your doc suspects something’s up you’ll probably soon be dropping your drawers and staring down the barrel of an empty plastic cup.
Tests For Male Infertility
Before anything goes down in the test department, your doc will probably take the much more uncomfortable (though way cheaper) route of talking to you and your partner about how you’ve been getting it on. It’s quite possible that this discussion might actually solve your issues. Particularly if you hear him say, “You’ve been putting it where?”
If there appears to be no issue with your partner’s pipes, and no other causes are found, you’ll probably need to take some tests that will differ wildly in terms of comfort.
At one time this was done in the cold confines of a doc’s office with porn mags you probably weren’t going to touch. But because you live in the future, there are at-home sperm tests that can be conducted where you’re used to spanking the monkey. Some even use the power of your smartphone (though maybe keep some wipes handy).
If you go the clinic route, diagnosticians will be looking for a couple of things: the amount of sperm, what they look like and how they move.
In some cases, hormonal imbalances might be the culprit of infertility issues. In these instances, your doc will order lab work to test for testosterone imbalances and other hormonal factors important for the creation of sperm.
Some issues with infertility may be genetic. This test will be less invasive than a needle but not as fun as rubbing one out at home. You can ask them to check if you’re related to George Washington, but they probably won’t tell you that.
You may imagine putting your junk onto a small MRI. That’s hilarious but not how it works. While an MRI may be ordered you’ll probably have to put your whole body into the machine. In other cases, you may receive an ultrasound on your testicles or one that’s conducted anally, which is about as invasive as you can get.
This could either include a needle in your testicles or a surgical procedure. It may be necessary in order to retrieve sperm for in vitro fertilization (IVF) or to diagnose any blockages or physical abnormalities that imaging alone cannot diagnose. Sorry.
Keep in mind that many of these tests are unlikely to be covered by insurance, so you may want to have those Health Savings Account funds socked away and ready to use. Besides you can always think of it as the first investment in a kid you’ll be spending money on the rest of your life.
In the end, there’s a good chance that a doctor will be able to address the root causes of your infertility. And sometimes all it will take is a lifestyle change or some medication to turn things around. In more extreme circumstances surgery may be in order. And that’s definitely difficult. But have you ever tried doing a Rubik’s cube with your foot?