Semen Analysis & Sperm Analysis
The most important test for assessing male fertility is the semen analysis. The fact that it is so inexpensive can be misleading, because many patients ( and doctors ! ) feel that it must be a very easy test to do if it is so cheap, which is why they get it done at the neighborhood lab. However, its apparent simplicity can be very misleading, because in reality it requires a lot of skill to perform a semen analysis accurately. However, it is very easy to do this test badly (as it often is by poorly trained technicians in small laboratories), with the result that the report can be very misleading – leading to confusion and angst for both patient and doctor. This is why it is crucial to go to a reliable andrology laboratory , which specialises in sperm ( Sperm Video ) testing, for your semen analysis, since the reporting is very subjective and depends upon the skill of the technician in the lab.
Some men try to judge their fertility by the thickness of their semen. It’s not possible to do this, so don’t worry if you think your semen is too “thin” or too fluid !
For a semen analysis, a fresh semen sample, not more than half an hour old is needed, after sexual abstinence for at least 3 to 4 days. The man masturbates into a clean, wide mouthed bottle which is then delivered to the laboratory.
Providing a semen sample by masturbation can be very stressful for some men – especially when they know their counts are low; or if they have had problems with masturbation “on demand” for semen analysis in the past. Men who have this problem can and should ask for help. Either their wife can help them to provide a sample _ or they can see sexually arousing pictures or use a mechanical vibrator to help them get an erection. Some men also find it helpful to use liquid paraffin to provide lubrication during masturbation. For some men, using the medicine called Viagra can help them to get an erection, thus providing additional assistance. If the problem still persists, it is possible to collect the ejaculate in a special silicone condom (which is non-toxic to the sperm and is available from our online store ) during sexual intercourse, and then send this to the laboratory for testing.
The semen sample must be kept at room temperature; and the container must be spotlessly clean. If the sample spills or leaks out, the test is invalid and needs to be repeated. Except for liquid paraffin, no other lubricant should be used during masturbation for semen analysis – many of these can kill the sperm. It is preferable that the sample is produced in the clinic itself – and most infertility centers will have a special private room to allow you to do so – a “masturbatorium”.
Semen Analysis & Sperm Analysis
A semen analysis measures the amount of semen a man produces and determines the number and quality of sperm in the semen sample.
A semen analysis is usually one of the first tests done to help determine whether a man has a problem fathering a child (infertility). A problem with the semen or sperm affects more than one-third of the couples who are unable to have children (infertile).
Tests that may be done during a semen analysis include:
• Volume. This is a measure of how much semen is present in one ejaculation.
• Liquefaction time. Semen is a thick gel at the time of ejaculation and normally becomes liquid within 20 minutes after ejaculation. Liquefaction time is a measure of the time it takes for the semen to liquefy.
• Sperm count. This is a count of the number of sperm present per milliliter (ml) of semen in one ejaculation.
• Sperm morphology. This is a measure of the percentage of sperm that have a normal shape.
• Sperm motility. This is a measure of the percentage of sperm that can move forward normally. The number of sperm that show normal forward movement in a certain amount of semen can also be measured (motile density).
• pH. This is a measure of the acidity (low pH) or alkalinity (high pH) of the semen.
• White blood cell count. White blood cells are not normally present in semen.
• Fructose level. This is a measure of the amount of a sugar called fructose in the semen. The fructose provides energy for the sperm.
How It Is Done
You will need to produce a semen sample, usually by ejaculating into a clean sample cup. You can do this in a private room or in a bathroom at your health professional’s office or clinic. If you live close to your health professional’s office or clinic, you may be able to collect the semen sample at home and then transport it to the office or clinic for testing.
• The most common way to collect semen is by masturbation, directing the semen into a clean sample cup. Do not use a lubricant.
• You can collect a semen sample during sex by withdrawing your penis from your partner just before ejaculating (coitus interruptus). You then ejaculate into a clean sample cup. This method can be used after a vasectomy to test for the presence of sperm, but other methods will likely be recommended if you are testing for infertility.
• You can also collect a semen sample during sex by using a condom. If you use a regular condom, you will need to wash it thoroughly before using it to remove any powder or lubricant on it that might kill sperm. You may also be given a special condom that does not contain any substance that kills sperm (spermicide). After you have ejaculated, carefully remove the condom from your penis. Tie a knot in the open end of the condom and place it in a container that can be sealed in case the condom leaks or breaks.