What to Expect With a Semen Analysis
Male factor infertility is the primary cause of over one-third of cases of infertility amongst couples and is a contributing factor in as many as 35% of infertility cases. For this reason, one of the first tests offered to couples at the Fertility Centers of New England is the semen analysis. For most men, the experience can feel uncomfortable, but knowing what to expect with a semen analysis can help.
What is a Semen Analysis?
The semen analysis is a test performed in the laboratory by an andrologist who is a specialist in male health as it relates to reproduction and in the performance of tests concerned with male reproductive potential. The semen analysis measures the quantity and quality of a patient’s sperm.
How is a Semen Analysis Done?
In order to test semen a sample is needed. Producing a sample in a time-sensitive and unfamiliar setting can be anxiety provoking. However, it is essential to the evaluation process that the sample be produced no more than one hour before analysis. For this reason, the Fertility Centers of New England provides private, clean, and comfortable rooms for sperm production. Sometimes, your doctor may allow the sample to be produced off-site as long as it can be transported warm to the lab within an hour so that the sample then can be assessed in a timely manner.
Semen Analysis Test Results
Once the sample has been collected and allowed to liquefy, the andrologist places a single drop of semen on a specialized glass slide for analysis with a microscope. Additionally, a second drop of semen is stained so that the andrologist can look at the morphology, or shape of the sperm. The andrologist then records various parameters of the sample that include:
- Concentration: The concentration result indicates how many sperm there are. Typically a normal sperm count is at at least 15 million sperm per milliliter of semen.
- Motility: The motility result indicates how your sperm are moving. Specifically, the test will evaluate how many sperm are moving and how well they move.
- Morphology: The morphology result is assessing what your sperm look like because the size and shape affect how well they can fertilize an egg.
- Volume: How much semen was able to be produced for a sample.
- pH Level: Your pH level is the level acidity found in your semen. This is important because an abnormal pH can affect the sperm health and motility.
- Liquefaction Timing: How long does your semen sample take before it becomes liquid.
- Fructose Level: This is tested if there is no sperm found in your semen analysis to determine if there is an obstruction.
At Fertility Centers of New England, our goal is to optimize all aspects of a patient’s overall health in order to have the best possible chance of conceiving. If you are seeking more information on a semen analysis or what to expect with a semen analysis, please contact us today!