You should start with your family doctor or a general practitioner. However, he or she might refer you to an infertility specialist.
Here's some information to help you get ready for your appointment, and what to expect from your doctor.
What you can do
- Be aware of any pre-appointment restrictions. At the time you make the appointment ask if there's anything you need to do in advance, such as refraining from ejaculating for a certain period of time or stopping certain medications.
- Write down any symptoms you're experiencing, including any that might seem unrelated to the reason for which you scheduled the appointment.
- Write down key personal information, including any major stresses or recent life changes.
- Find out whether you have a family history of fertility problems. Having a male blood relative, such as your brother or father, with fertility problems or other reproductive issues might give clues to the cause of low sperm count.
- Find out from your parents if you had undescended testes or other issues at birth or in early childhood.
- Make a list of all medications, vitamins and supplements that you're taking.
- Take your partner along. Even if you have a low sperm count, your partner also might need tests to see whether she has any problems that could be preventing pregnancy. It's also good to have your partner along to help keep track of any instructions your doctor gives you or to ask questions you may not think of.
- Write down questions to ask your doctor.
Some basic questions to ask your doctor include:
- What do you suspect might be causing my low sperm count?
- Other than the most likely cause, what are other possible reasons my partner and I haven't been able to conceive a child?
- What kinds of tests do I need?
- Will my partner also need tests?
- What treatments are available to increase my sperm count? Which do you recommend?
- Are there any restrictions that I need to follow?
- At what point should we consider other alternatives, such as a sperm donor or adoption?
- Are there any brochures or other printed material that I can take home with me? What websites do you recommend visiting?
Don't hesitate to ask additional questions during your appointment.
What to expect from your doctor
Some questions your doctor may ask you include:
July 15, 2015
- At what age did you start puberty?
- Have you had a vasectomy or a vasectomy reversal?
- Do you use illicit drugs, such as marijuana, cocaine or anabolic steroids?
- Have you been exposed to toxins such as chemicals, pesticides, radiation or lead, especially on a regular basis?
- Are you currently taking any medications, including dietary supplements?
- Do you have a history of undescended testicles?
- Diagnostic evaluation of the infertile male: A committee opinion. Practice Committee of the American Society for Reproductive Medicine. Fertility and Sterility. 2015;103:e18.
- Strauss JF, et al. Male infertility. In: Yen & Jaffe's Reproductive Endocrinology. 7th ed. Philadelphia, Pa.: Saunders Elsevier; 2014. www.clinicalkey.com. Accessed June 16, 2015.
- Swerdloff RS, et al. Evaluation of male infertility. www.uptodate.com/home. Accessed June 16, 2015.
- Male infertility. Urology Care Foundation. http://www.urologyhealth.org/urologic-conditions/male-infertility. Accessed June 16, 2015.
- Jameson JL, et al. Clinical management of male infertility. In: Endocrinology: Adult and Pediatric. 7th ed. Philadelphia, Pa.: Saunders Elsevier; 2016. www.clinicalkey.com. Accessed June 16, 2015.
- Swerdloff RS, et al. Causes of male infertility. www.uptodate.com/home. Accessed June 16, 2015.
- Wang C, et al. Treatment of male infertility. www.uptodate.com/home. Accessed June 16, 2015.
- Du Plessis SS, et al. The importance of diet, vitamins, malnutrition, and nutrient deficiencies in male infertility. In: Male Infertility: A Complete Guide to Lifestyle and Environmental Factors. New York, NY; Springer Science and Business Media. 2014.
- Nippoldt TB (expert opinion). Mayo Clinic, Rochester, Minn. June 22, 2015.
- Trost LW (expert opinion). Mayo Clinic, Rochester, Minn. June 24, 2015.