Semen Analysis Provides Fertility Experts with Important Information About Male Infertility
Finding answers to infertility problems is the first step in achieving a pregnancy and building a family. In 50% of infertility cases, male infertility is the sole cause of infertility. According to Resolve, the National Infertility Association, semen analysis is “… the single most important test of male fertility.”
What you need to know about the test
Semen analysis is a simple noninvasive test that begins with obtaining a semen sample, which is then analyzed in one of Ovation’s state-of-the-art laboratories. The sample may be provided in our special collection rooms, through masturbation, or you may collect the sample in your home and bring it to our office for evaluation.
Ideally, you should abstain from sexual activities or masturbation for at least 48 hours before providing a sample. You should also avoid using any lubricating gels or substances that may contain chemicals that could adversely affect the sperm while obtaining the sample.
Interpreting the test results of semen analysis
When we do a semen analysis, we look at several different factors, including:
Sperm concentration—A normal semen specimen contains about 20 million sperm per milliliter or more. A sample that contains only 10 million per milliliter or less is considered to be significantly abnormal.
Semen volume—Normally, this number, which reflects the total volume of seminal fluid collected in the sample during semen analysis, will be between 1.5-5 milliliters. A lower volume may necessitate a visit to a fertility urologist to make sure that there is no anatomic abnormality responsible for the problem.
Sperm motility—This measurement determines what percentage of the sperm in the sample are motile, or moving. This number should be at least 50%. We also measure to see how many of the sperm are moving in a forward progression; this number should also be at least 50%.
Total motile sperm count– In a normal sample, there are usually about 10 million motile sperm.
Sperm morphology, or shape—We strictly and efficiently measure different areas of the sperm to see if they have a normal shape. There are several different methods of assessing sperm morphology. Using traditional parameters, at least 15% of the sperm should have a normal shape. If strict morphology is employed, at least 4% of the sperm should have a normal shape.
Thickness of sperm fluid, or viscosity—Normal seminal fluid has a low to moderate thickness.
Leukocytes, or white blood cells—The presence of more than one million leukocytes per milliliter of semen may be a warning sign of infection or inflammation. Such conditions are usually easily treated.
What if my results are abnormal?
If your semen analysis shows abnormal results, the first step is to ask you to repeat the test to double-check the findings. Depending on which factors are revealed to be abnormal, there are many different steps your fertility care provider can take. For example, men with a low sperm count may need to be tested to see if their hormone levels are abnormal. Our physicians may refer you to a urologist for further evaluation and treatment, or we may recommend further treatment at our office.
Semen analysis, a simple non-invasive test that can help men in their journey to build a family, provides the physicians and staff at Ovation with important information about male infertility. Contact us for more information.