Written by Editorial Team
So, you and your partner want to start a lovely family soon. You are planning a baby. If you are trying to conceive without any results, you might want to consider preconception testing. Preconception testing for men is also helpful even before you start to try. You will address the problem that’s not making you pregnant, and you’ll save plenty of time.
If the male partner is not fertile, sperm testing will reveal the problem and offer a solution. Moreover, testing for STIs ( Sexually transmitted infections ) should be done as well. Do you know if you get infected with them, your baby can have vision problems, premature birth, etc? Preconception testing is the best way to know that you and your partner are healthy before conception.
In This Article
Preconception testing for men is an important part of preconception care. Couples who want to take all precautions for a healthy conception and pregnancy can opt for preconception testing. Basic preconception testing involves a basic physical checkup, blood tests and sperm tests.
Sometimes, a couple might be ‘trying’ for a long time, but the wife may not get pregnant. There’s a possibility that the male partner’s sperm count is less, or he has some other fertility issues. If a couple experiences such a situation, preconception testing can help. It’s a series of medical tests which answer whether the male partner, in this case (it can be done for women as well) can give birth to a baby. And if he can, then it can be known whether the baby will be born healthy.
In the long history of pregnancy and childbirth, some babies are born with medical conditions like autism or mental diseases. The parents, in many cases, were healthy. But somehow the baby was not. The explanation behind this is chromosomes.
The baby inherits 23 chromosomes each from their parents, which makes a total of 46 chromosomes. These chromosomes are like a library full of books. They decide your baby’s eye color, hair color, susceptibility to certain diseases, and so on.
Chromosomes are made up of genes. Now imagine one partner is carrying a genetic mutation, but only one copy. Certain diseases require two copies of mutated genes to develop the disease. Both parents will be healthy if they have only one copy of this gene. However, the baby will receive one copy each from the parents and will develop the disease.
Preconception testing can help predict these conditions, and prevent them from happening. In addition, it can also help point out any basic underlying health conditions that may interfere with fertility.
A man should do preconception testing at least three to six months before trying to conceive. If let’s say, it’s found that he’s not fertile enough, he will have time on his hands to take medications or go through treatments to solve the problem.
Preconception testing includes certain basic tests that will read important parameters and identify any basic health conditions that may prevent a couple from getting pregnant. The standard preconception tests are mentioned below. A man should go through them before conception.
The doctor will do a physical checkup of the body such as height, weight, blood pressure, etc. Being over or underweight can lead to health problems. For instance, an unhealthy body weight affects the hormones which produce sperm. Therefore, pregnancy becomes difficult. Moreover, if the man experiences pain during sex or his sexual organs aren’t healthy, it can be treated.
The healthcare provider may suggest lifestyle changes like doing exercise if that’s absent. Or, in the case of people who consume alcohol, tobacco, and so on, corrective methods are given.
A man is asked to masturbate and provide his sperm sample for laboratory testing. These sperm cells are then evaluated for their function. For example, some people on a construction site have been assigned a difficult task. Only fit people can do it. The job won’t be successful if the person is too short, too tall, underweight, or overweight.
Similarly, the size and shape of the sperm cells play a big role in fertilizing the egg and making the partner pregnant. A sperm cell whose head or tail is abnormally shaped will not be able to swim properly in the race towards the egg.
One should eat the necessary vitamins, minerals, and other nutrients to develop a healthy body. Just like that, exercise, eating habits, and environmental factors such as pollution affect the sperm’s shape, size and overall appearance (morphology). Moreover, sperm count is also evaluated, which is the concentration of sperm cells in the sample.
[Read : Top 12 Sperm Killers In Men]
Blood samples are collected in a tube. And then it gets analyzed whether the level of hormones in the bloodstream is optimal or not. For example, testosterone, follicle-stimulating hormone (FSH), and luteinizing hormone (LH) decide sperm production to a very large extent.
Inside the brain, the pituitary gland creates FSH and LH. Further, LH signals the testes to produce testosterone. Afterwards, testosterone and FSH together make sperm cells. These hormones are all connected. Imagine a park with many colored SeeSaws, red, yellow, blue, and green, all connected from the ends. One Seesaw’s movement can influence others.
If hormone imbalances are detected, medications, getting quality sleep, a nutrient-rich diet, and so on can fix them.
Sexually transmitted infections (STIs) are tested through blood and urine samples. Some STIs show no symptoms, so it’s better to get tested. Some common STIs are HIV/AIDS, Chlamydia, Hepatitis B, and HPV. If you or your partner have an STI, the baby’s health can get affected. For instance, babies who get in contact with Chlamydia may suffer eye infections. If you get Hepatitis B from your partner, you are more prone to premature delivery.
Blood and saliva samples are often used for genetic or carrier testing. A baby inherits two copies of every gene, one copy from the father, and one from the mother. Think of a brick, half of the brick comes from a father and the other half from the mother. And then, a house is made from several bricks.
So, if one parent carries an abnormal gene, in most cases the baby will be healthy. But if both parents carry that abnormal gene, the baby will be affected. These genetic mutations can lead to – Cystic Fibrosis (which affects the lungs, pancreas and some other organs), Fragile X Syndrome (intellectual disability), Tay-Sachs Disease (blindness, deafness, dementia, seizures).
You and your partner need to be transparent to the doctor.
It’s better to seek medical attention before trying to conceive. If you have been trying for a long time, let’s say a year, without any pregnancy, you should consult a doctor. The doctor will guide you towards the appropriate preconception tests.
Preconception testing for men involves a range of medical tests to identify potential health issues that could impact fertility, pregnancy, or the baby’s health. Tests include a physical exam, sperm analysis, blood tests, genetic testing, etc. It is recommended to consult a doctor before trying to conceive to identify and address any potential issues.
Semen analysis is the primary test to check whether a male’s sperm are healthy or not. Apart from that physical checks and various blood tests are done. These help the doctor understand the fertility levels and any factors that may affect fertility in men
Men never stop producing sperm. This is a lifelong process. But once he crosses the age of 35, there will be a gradual decline in sperm quality, motility, and volume.
Proper health and lifestyle are the main considerations when planning to have a baby. Be in good shape, stop smoking, or consume any toxic substances like alcohol. Moreover, good mental health is also important.
With a rich experience in pregnancy and parenting, our team of experts create insightful, well-curated, and easy-to-read content for our to-be-parents and parents at all stages of parenting.Read more.
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