If you have never been evaluated by a doctor, you might 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 at least one and no longer than 11 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 might give clues to the cause of fertility problems.
- 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. This includes prior use of muscle-building substances and any use of alcohol, tobacco, marijuana or other recreational drugs.
- Take your partner along. Your partner might 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 might 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, including:
Aug. 11, 2015
- 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 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.
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- Male infertility. Urology Care Foundation. http://www.urologyhealth.org/urologic-conditions/male-infertility. Accessed June 16, 2015.
- Swerdloff RS, et al. Evaluation of male infertility. www.uptodate.com/home. Accessed June 16, 2015.
- Diagnostic testing for male factor infertility. American Society for Reproductive Medicine. http://www.reproductivefacts.org/publications/index.aspx?id=76. 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.
- Riggin EA. Decision Support System. Mayo Clinic, Rochester, Minn. May 19, 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.