If you have never been evaluated by a doctor, you may begin by seeing your family doctor. If, however, you have a known condition resulting in infertility or have any abnormalities on your testing by your primary care doctor, then you may be referred to a 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, be sure to ask if there's anything you need to do in advance. If a semen analysis is scheduled, you will need to refrain from ejaculating for 2-7 days prior to the collection.
- Write down any symptoms you're experiencing, including any that may 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 may give clues to the cause of fertility problems.
- Make a list of all medications, vitamins and supplements that you're taking. This includes prior use of muscle-building substances and any use of alcohol, tobacco, marijuana or other recreational drugs.
- Take your partner along. For infertility, your partner may also need tests to see whether she has any fertility 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.
Questions to ask your doctor
- What do you suspect may be interfering with my ability to father a child?
- 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's the best treatment for my condition?
- What are the alternatives to the primary approach that you're suggesting?
- Are there any restrictions that I need to follow?
- Should I see a specialist?
- Is there a generic alternative to the medicine you're prescribing me?
- 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 questions at any time during your appointment.
What to expect from your doctor
Be ready to answer questions your doctor is likely to ask:
June 13, 2014
- At what age did you start puberty?
- Have you had any sexual problems in this relationship, including difficulty maintaining an erection, ejaculating too soon or not being able to ejaculate?
- Have you ever fathered a child?
- Have you had a vasectomy or other abdominal, pelvic or scrotal surgery?
- Do you use illegal 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 regularly take hot baths or steam baths?
- European Association of Urology Guidelines on Male Infertility: The 2012 Update. Arnhem, Netherlands: European Association of Urology. http://www.uroweb.org/guidelines/online-guidelines. Accessed July 20, 2012.
- McPhee SJ, et al. Current Medical Diagnosis & Treatment 2012. 51st ed. New York, N.Y.: The McGraw-Hill Companies; 2012. http://www.accessmedicine.com/resourceTOC.aspx?resourceID=1. Accessed July 20, 2012.
- Swerdloff RF, et al. Causes of male infertility. http://www.uptodate.com/home/index. Accessed July 19, 2012.
- Patel ZP, et al. Male factor assessment in infertility. Medical Clinics of North America. 2011;95:223.
- The optimal evaluation of the infertile male: AUA best practice statement. Linthicum, Md.: American Urological Association Education and Research, Inc. http://www.guideline.gov/content.aspx?id=23921&search=male+infertility. Accessed July 19, 2012.
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- Swerdloff RF, et al. Evaluation of male infertility. http://www.uptodate.com/home/index. Accessed July 19, 2012.
- Showell MG, et al. Antioxidants for male subfertility. Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews. http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1002/14651858.CD007411.pub2/abstract. Accessed July 23, 2012.
- Patel SR, et al. Antioxidant therapy in male infertility. Urology Clinics of North America. 2008;35:319.
- De Celis R, et al. Semen quality of workers occupationally exposed to hydrocarbons. Fertility and Sterility. 2000;73:221.
- Swan SH. Semen quality in fertile US men in relation to geographical area and pesticide exposure exposed to hydrocarbons. International Journal of Andrology. 2006;26:62.
- El-Helaly M, et al. Workplace exposures and male infertility - A case control study. International Journal of Occupational Medicine and Environmental Health 2010;23:331.
- Murphy LE, et al. Folate and vitamin B12 in idiopathic male infertility. Asian Journal of Andrology. 2011;13:856.
- Lenzi A, et al. Use of carnitine therapy in selected cases of male factor infertility: A double-blind crossover trial. Fertility and Sterility. 2003;79:292.
- Ross C, et al. A systematic review of the effect of oral antioxidants on male infertility. Reproductive BioMedicine Online. 2010;20:711.
- Menezeo Y, et al. Antioxidants to reduce sperm DNA fragmentation: An unexpected adverse effect. Reproductive BioMedicine Online. 2007;14:418.
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