Male fertility tests

The male factor is half the equation, but it is often neglected. When test results are poor, male patients are often ignored— and IVF or any other form of assisted conception is suggested. Men are often treated as sperm banks: Once sperm is extracted, men tend to be forgotten.

A sperm, drawn with Chinese calligraphy, TCM Healthcare — London fertility clinic

So you want to have children?

In the dash for babies, health reasons for poor sperm parameters can be overlooked. We believe they should be addressed, not only for the sake of improving sperm quantity and quality, but also to improve men's overall health.  It is simply not good enough to take sperm at face value when our track record shows sperm parameters improve in the majority of cases.

Our tests

We will explain the results to you and explore your options if there are issues. As a reputable laboratory carries out our tests, the results are accepted by all doctors and clinics in the world. Most results are available between 1 and 3 days. Have a look at our comprehensive set of pathology tests.

Semen analysis (sperm test)

This is the first line test we offer. Our comprehensive semen analysis tests all parameters recommended by the World Health Organisation, including sperm count, motility, morphology, vitality and anti-sperm antibodies.

There are two preconditions:

  1. no high fever over the last 12 weeks

  2. abstain from ejaculation for at least two, but no more than five days before the test

This comprehensive semen analysis is the first that doctors will ask for if you

  • are under 35 and have tried for over six months, or

  • over 35 and have tried for over a year

If you have already done a semen test and found you have issues, you may wish to check out our treatment page.

What’s tested?

All major parameters recommended by the World Health Organisation, including

  • Sperm count

  • Sperm motility (total, progressive and types of movement)

  • Sperm morphology

  • Anti-sperm antibodies (MAR tests)

  • Vitality

Fee

£165

Includes a report, follow-up phone call to explain the result and to talk about potential treatments.

How long do results take?

3 working days

When can I do the test?

  • Monday to Friday 7am–6.30pm

  • Saturday 9am–3pm

What next?

The WHO recommends a retest in 12 weeks if your results show abnormalities. In the meantime, we will explore treatment options with you.

Sperm DNA fragmentation test

The genetic integrity of the spermatozoa is vital for normal embryo development. A high level of DNA fragmentation in sperm cells is one cause of male infertility that conventional exams (sperm concentration, motility analysis, morphology assessment) cannot detect.

This test provides a reliable analysis of sperm DNA integrity and may help in the clinical diagnosis, management and treatment of male infertility.

Embryos formed from sperm with highly fragmented DNA have a poor prognosis. Evidence suggests this could result in apoptosis and mutations that can result in blastocyst arrest, miscarriage, offspring abnormalities and increased susceptibility to childhood cancer.

A major causative factor of sperm DNA damage is oxidative stress. Other factors include abnormalities in the regulation of apoptosis or defects in topoisomerase activity. Higher levels of sperm DNA fragmentation is associated with:

  • Infection

  • Leukocytospermia

  • Spermcytoplasmic droplets

  • Febrile illness

  • Elevated testicular temperature

  • Drug use

  • Smoking

  • Exposure to environmental and occupational pollutants

  • Advanced age

  • Varicocele

When should I consider the test?

You should consider the test if you have any of the following:

  • Unexplained fertility

  • Multiple failed IVF/ICSI treatments

  • Recurrent miscarriage

  • Advanced age

  • Varicocele

  • Poor semen parameters

  • Exposure to harmful substances

How does the test work?

Sperm are stained with a fluorescent probe that interacts with the DNA molecule. The fluorescence signal changes when the DNA is fragmented, which is monitored by a flow cytometer. The SCSA test has been developed over the last 20 years and is CLIA approved.

The results show 3 categories of fertility potential, based on the percentage of your sperm cells that contain damaged DNA, also known as the DNA fragmentation index:

  • Less than 15% DFI — excellent fertility potential

  • 15%–30% DFI —good fertility potential

  • More than 30% DFI — fair to poor fertility potential

Fee

£450

Includes a report, follow-up phone call to explain the result and to talk about potential treatments.

How long do results take?

2–3 working weeks

When can I do the test?

  • Monday to Friday 7am–6.30pm

  • Saturday 9am–3pm

What next?

Some causes of DNA fragmentation cannot be treated, but if the damage is caused by free radicals, then a change in lifestyle and diet to protect against oxidative stress can reduce fragmentation levels.

Treatment of infection with antibiotics can also reduce DNA fragmentation. There is some evidence to show varicocele repair may improve sperm DNA integrity. A second test to see if initiatives are working can be done 3 months after the first.

There is increasing research to show Chinese herbal medicine, which contains high levels of antioxidants, may help oxidative stress.

Studies show that ICSI may be a more effective treatment than IVF for sperm with high DNA fragmentation.

Erectile dysfunction test

One obvious factor that affects fertility is the frequency of sexual intercourse in couples, which erectile dysfunction reduces. Lower frequencies also mean intercourse may not take place at the right time of the partner’s cycle, or at all, which reduces the chance of a natural pregnancy.

The erectile dysfunction test yields a panel of readings:

  • Lipid profile

  • Glucose

  • TSH

  • HbA1c

  • Prolactin

  • Total testosterone

  • Free testosterone

  • PSA

Collectively, the panel gives first-line pointers to underlying reasons for erectile dysfunction, premature ejaculation or other problems related to intercourse.

The test is also designed to identify health risk factors, which may be associated with these fertility problems, but need medical attention.

When should I consider the test?

You should consider the test if you have any of the following:

  • Unexplained fertility

  • Multiple failed IVF/ICSI treatments

  • Recurrent miscarriage

  • Advanced age

  • Varicocele

  • Poor semen parameters

  • Exposure to harmful substances

Fee

£200

Includes a report, follow-up phone call to explain the result and to talk about potential treatments.

How long do results take?

3 working days

When can I do the test?

  • Monday to Friday 7am–6.30pm

  • Saturday 9am–3pm

What next?

We have an excellent track record in improving hormones, and sperm count and quality. We’ve helped a number of men maintain erections for longer. See our treatment page for erectile dysfunction and premature ejaculation.

Male libido and hormonal imbalance test

Low libido can result in lower frequencies of sexual intercourse, meaning it does not take place at the right time of the partner’s cycle, or at all, reducing the chance of a natural pregnancy. 

In addition, men diagnosed with testicular failure usually have hormonal imbalance. This test can potentially ascertain if hormonal imbalance is the cause of low or no sperm count.

This test focuses mainly on hormones and impacting factors, the indicators for low libido’s underlying reasons. The male libido and hormonal imbalance test yields a panel of readings:

  • FSH

  • LH

  • Testosterone

  • Free androgen index

  • Prolactin

  • SHBG

Fee

£160

Includes a report, follow-up phone call to explain the result and to talk about potential treatments.

How long do results take?

1 working day

When can I do the test?

  • Monday to Friday 7am–6.30pm

  • Saturday 9am–3pm

Oxidative stress test

Oxidative stress refers to the build-up of high levels of free oxygen radicals. A certain level of these is essential for normal sperm function, but once the radicals perform their function, antioxidants are required to get rid of them. This process must be continuous to maintain the required balance. Oxidative stress occurs when this balance is upset.

Put simply, oxidative stress leads to sperm damage and lower fertility. In particular, research shows:

  • 25–80% of infertile men have a reduced antioxidant capacity and consequently high levels of oxidative stress, irrespective of pre-existing semen parameters

  • Oxidative stress can impact all major sperm parameters ie sperm count, motility, morphology and vitality

  • High oxidative stress levels cause sperm DNA fragmentation

  • High oxidative stress levels correlate to an increase in the time needed for natural pregnancy

  • High oxidative stress levels impairs fertilisation and reduces pregnancy rates after IVF

Fee

£350

Includes a report, follow-up phone call to explain the result and to talk about potential treatments.

How long do results take?

1 working day

When can I do the test?

  • Monday to Friday 7am–6.30pm

  • Saturday 9am–3pm

Test conditions

2–3 days of ejaculation abstinence. As the sample will need to be processed within 20 minutes, it must be produced in a private room in a laboratory.

What next?

If infections are present, treatment of the infection can also reduce free oxygen radicals.

A diet rich in antioxidants can also help. Research has found some Chinese herbal medication contains high levels of antioxidants.

Other male fertility tests

Other tests offered:

  • Semen culture

  • STI test

  • Genetic profiling

Book a test

Call us on: 0207 096 0283
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Disclaimer

While we are happy to explain your test results to you, we always advise consulting your GP and having a proper medical consultation about your result. This is because these tests are Western medical tests and are best explained by Western medical doctors. We do not accept any liability regarding interpretation of test results should you wish us help explaining them.

If you have booked a test and decide to change the time or date, we are more than happy to help you change it to one that is convenient to you at no extra charge. However, cancellation will carry a small administrative fee of £30, before refund.