Male InfertilitySemen Analysis – What you should know

Semen Analysis – What you should know

Summary
If you are not able to get your female partner pregnant for quite sometime now and if you want to get tested for any possible problems, the first thing most sexologists would ask for is a ‘Semen Analysis’ test to check the count of sperms, shape of the sperms and if they are able to move well in the semen. This gives your doctor a good picture about the problem and he/she will be able to treat you accordingly.

How to obtain a semen sample?

You can collect the semen sample at home or at the clinic. You will be given a sterile cup, you can masturbate, collect the semen sample and hand it over to the staff at the clinic. Or you can masturbate at home and collect the sample.

You may also be given a condom to collect semen that you ejaculate during sex. This will not be a regular condom that you find in stores. This will be a special condom that will have no chemicals etc given by your sexologist to you.

Precautions that you need to take when collecting a semen sample:

  1. You will need to abstain from sex or masturbation for several days until you collect the sample. (This will give your body enough time to produce good amount of semen).
  2. You should not avoid ejaculation for more than 14 days before the test.
  3. You must avoid alcohol, drugs etc during this period. They may hamper the production and quality of your semen/sperms.
  4. You should not use any lubricants or a lubricated condom for collecting semen sample. The chemicals in the lubricant can get mixed up with the semen sample.
  5. Avoid collecting semen sample when you are unwell/sick.

You will be advised to give semen sample multiple times (for test) with a gap of 2 to 3 weeks so that average (more accurate) readings can come out from the test.

Factors measured in Semen Analysis

  1. Sperm Count.

Sperm count refers to the number of sperms present in 1ml of semen. A minimum of 15 million (1.5 Crore) sperms are expected to be present in 1ml.  On the whole, in one semen sample, there should be more than 39 million sperms.

If you have lower sperm count, that could be the primary reason for infertility and your doctor will put you onto some medications, supplements or lifestyle changes that can help you increase your sperm count.  Up to 90% of male infertility issues are due to lower sperm count.

  1. Sperm Morphology.

Sperm morphology refers to the shape and size of the sperms. Normal sperm has a long tail with a neck and oval shaped head. If many sperms are not having a properly defined shape and size, they may not be able to get to the egg inside the woman to get her pregnant.

Semen Analysis – What you should know
Semen Analysis – What you should know
  1. Sperm Motility.

Sperm Motility refers to the ability of the sperm to move quickly and efficiently inside the semen. If your sperms are weak/asthenic or are not in good shape, they may not be able to move/swim in the semen.  50% of infertility in men is due to sperm motility issues.

  1. Other factors that are looked into as a part of semen analysis:
    1. Volume of semen sample. Normal volume of a man’s semen sample should be at least half a teaspoon. Lower volume can suggest problem with production or the presence of any blockages.
    2. Liquefaction time. This is the amount of time taken by the semen (that is in a thick state when leaving a man’s penis) to become liquid. If the amount of time taken to liquefy is less or too long, that is a problem.
    3. pH levels. This gives the acidic nature of the semen. Lower the value, higher the acidic rate of the semen.  Too high or too low pH value affects the ability of the sperm to survive and swim through the woman’s cervix.
    4. Fructose levels in the semen. Low levels of fructose in the semen indicate a problem with functioning of seminal glands.

You have noticed abnormal values in your semen analysis report, now what?

Most of the time, you need not worry too much when you find abnormal values in your semen analysis report because the very first reason you got your semen analysed is to figure out the problem and abnormal values can possibly tell where the problem is. When you already have a good sexologist at hand, there is very little room to worry.

After your sexologist goes through your report, he/she will be able to infer the problem and then put you on right track wrt food, medication, lifestyle changes and also suggest some supplements that can correct the problem or help you produce more semen/sperms.

What will be the cost of semen analysis test?

Cost of semen analysis test may be around few thousands of rupees and this may vary from clinic to clinic.

 

Conclusion

Now that you have known what your semen analysis report will have, you should also know that without a semen analysis report, there are very few infertility issues that can be diagnosed correctly. When your doctor asks you to get your semen tested, don’t just jump for a second opinion looking at the cost of the test because “a stitch in time, saves nine”. If you can’t get your infertility issue fixed, the cost of IVF treatment or ICSI procedure will be several times higher than the cost of semen analysis test. When wrongly diagnosed and treated, you may even lose the chance of becoming a father of your own biological child and you will be left with only either sperm donation or adoption to become a parent.

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