Medical Q&As

Fertility - testing before trying?

I am a 26-year-old male. I would like to know how to go about checking if I am fertile or not before trying to have children. What is involved in the process?

I am intrigued by your question. No man has ever asked me that question in over twenty years of general practice. I have a huge question in my mind and that is; why are you asking this question? Are you in a relationship or are you contemplating making a commitment to a continuing relationship with someone? Also, if it were possible to answer your question how would that information determine what you were going to do? The reality is that there is no routine process that could fully answer the question you pose. You could have a physical check up, including hormone estimation and semen analysis but the results obtained would be of limited value. If the results were normal that still does not prove that you could father a child even if your female partner went through an equivalent process of assessment and her results were also found to be normal. It is not uncommon for two apparently fertile people to be unable to conceive through natural means. However, if the assessment demonstrated that there were no sperm, or highly abnormal sperm in your semen that would indicate that the chances of fertilization occurring would be reduced. Therefore the only information that would be of reasonable predictive value would be negative findings. I wonder would you expect your partner to go through a similar process before trying to have children? Finally I cannot avoid the conclusion that there is a deeper question beneath the apparently simple question you ask. I think that you need to explore the reasons that have prompted you to pose this question.