Andrology – male infertility

Andrology is the study of health issues affecting male fertility, focusing primarily on male reproductive health. Infertility affects approximately one in six couples in the UK and in those situations where a couple is unable to fall pregnant, male infertility is the cause 35%-40% of the time.

If your fertility assessment reveals a male problem, our andrology services can help with specific fertility issues. We offer a wide range of investigations to examine male reproductive function.

We manage erectile dysfunction (impotence), hormonal problems, low sperm count, poor sperm motility, and testicular damage among others.

Semen analysis

Semen analysis is an essential means of diagnosing the cause of male infertility. It’s simple, non-invasive and is one of the first investigations we carry out. What’s more, the test results are available immediately so you can discuss your fertility options with one of our team soon after.

Our semen analysis report will provide information on the number of sperm present, its motility, morphology (i.e. their appearance), volume and appearance of the sample. The presence of inflammatory cells that could indicate an infection as well as the presence of antibodies that could impair fertility will be assessed. With these results, our experts can advise you on how best you can optimise your fertility. This could be as simple as making a few lifestyle or diet changes or we will need to advise on which male fertility treatment is necessary to help you achieve a successful pregnancy.

Our andrology services include:

  • semen analysis
  • post vasectomy/vasectomy reversal semen analysis
  • retrograde ejaculation diagnosis
  • anti-sperm antibody diagnosis
  • sperm banking for social or medical reasons

Genetic integrity testing is also available and includes:

  • DNA fragmentation testing
  • Y chromosome microdeletion screening
  • Cystic fibrosis screening

Your investigations and treatment will be managed with sensitivity and the utmost confidentiality whilst providing expert medical care to enable you to achieve your dream of fatherhood.

Hyaluronan binding assay (HBA) analysis

Men with poorer sperm samples often have a greater degree of immature sperm within their sample. Immature sperm will still show normal motility and morphology, however, they have higher levels of damaged DNA, which, if selected for fertilisation, can result in poor embryo quality and pregnancy loss.

HBA stands for hyaluronan binding assay, which is a specialist sperm assessment method that can be used to distinguish between mature sperm with intact DNA and immature sperm with damaged DNA. Hyaluronan is a naturally occurring substance found within the cells which surround the egg. Mature sperm has developed receptor sites which means they can bind to the hyaluronan to initiate fertilisation, whereas immature sperm lacks these receptors and would be unable to bind.

HBA analysis is incorporated within our standard semen analysis to help to identify men with increased proportions of immature sperm with damaged DNA within their sample.

What is PICSI?

PICSI stands for physiological intra-cytoplasmic injection and is a method which can be used to select only mature sperm for use within ICSI based on their ability to bind to hyaluronan. Mature sperm with intact DNA will bind to a hyaluronan coating on a specialised ICSI dish and can be selected and used for ICSI.

Why would an HBA test benefit me?

If less than 65% of the sperm bind to hyaluronan in the initial hyaluronan binding assay performed at semen analysis, this indicates that the proportion of immature sperm within the sample is increased and you may benefit from having sperm selected by the PICSI method.

How do I make an appointment?

Finding out more information or making an appointment for semen assessment is quick, easy and strictly confidential, and you do not need a GP or hospital referral. Simply call us on 01992 78 50 60 or email enquiries@hertsandessexfertility.com.

We also welcome patient referrals from GPs and other healthcare professionals.