Advanced Male Fertility Tests - Testicular Biopsy

A male fertility test that is also helpful in the diagnosis and treatment of male fertility problems is a testicular biopsy. This type of test involves a minor surgical procedure and can be used when other male fertility tests such as a semen analysis and immunobead testing are unable to identify the cause of fertility problems.

Testicular Biopsy Procedure

A testicular biopsy is a non-invasive surgical procedure in which a small needle is inserted into the testis in order to collect a tissue sample. The tissue is then analyzed in a lab, where it is assessed for sperm production irregularities.

This type of male infertility test is performed under a light anaesthesia and lasts for approximately 15 to 30 minutes. It can be performed at a health care practitioner’s office or as an outpatient through a fertility clinic or hospital.

Preparing for a Testicular Biopsy

Although this male fertility test procedure is generally painless, you may experience some discomfort when the anaesthesia is administered.

In addition, common side effects of a testicular biopsy are minor swelling, light bruising and discoloration in the scrotum or testicles. These side effects generally subside on their own within a few days. There is also a slight chance that an infection may develop, or that bleeding may occur.

Patients must also abstain from sex for two to three days following surgery.

Testicular Biopsy Results

A testicular biopsy can assess whether the following conditions are causing male fertility problems:

  • irregularities with cells in charge of sperm maturation
  • low sperm production (hypospermatogenesis)
  • lack of germ cells that control sperm production (germinal cell aplasia)
  • infection of testicles
  • Leydig cell irregularities

Abnormal results indicate that normal sperm and hormonal functioning may not be possible and therefore indicate male infertility issues. If sperm development is normal within the testicle but semen analysis demonstrates a lack of or low levels of sperm, there may be a blockage in the tube through which sperm travel through the testes. If such a blockage is found, it can be repaired via surgery. Abnormal test results can also be indicative of testicular cancer.

In addition, a testicular biopsy can be helpful in determining the course of male infertility treatment. Such male infertility treatment options include intracytoplasmic sperm injection (ICSI), as well as whether other methods of assisted reproduction, such as in vitro fertilisation (IVF).