March 24, 2011

Andrology: Additional Sperm Parameters

Part 5: Additional Sperm Parameters
Other sperm parameters can be part of a semen analysis although they are of less significance than count, motility, and especially morphology. These parameters may include:
Liquefaction- A freshly ejaculated sample has a thick gel-like consistency. Within 15-20 minutes the ejaculate normally liquefies to a thin, watery consistency. If it does not then this could entrap sperm disallowing egress into the uterus.
Viscosity – The viscosity or semen density can be thin, normal, slight, moderate, or extreme. High viscosity may inhibit the ability of sperm to swim forward.
Color – Semen is generally white, yellowish or clear, but may also have a red tint which can indicate blood in the sample. A greenish tint may suggest an infection.
Agglutination – Sperm may clump together, or agglutinate. Agglutination can hinder the sperms’ ability to swim forward and reach the egg after ejaculation. Agglutination is measured as none, slight, moderate, or severe.
pH – The normal pH of semen is ≥ 7.2. An acidic pH (below 7.2) suggests problems with seminal vesicle function and is usually found in association with a low volume of the ejaculate. The seminal vesicle is a gland that provides nutrients to the sperm so that they can function appropriately.

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Bryan Kloos

Bryan Kloos PhD Embryologist/Andrologist