Author: Dr. Priyanka Reddy
Qualification : MBBS, MS(OBG), FMAS, DMAS, FRM
Semen Analysis: The What, Why and How of the Male Fertility Test
The fight against infertility can be a long and arduous journey. The desire to start a family of your own is a powerful motivator that drives you along this road. However, even the journey of a thousand miles must begin with that all-important first step! Let’s discuss the inevitable first step when you are struggling to conceive – the simple Semen Analysis Test.
Semen analysis, or sperm count test is performed to determine the overall health and viability of a man’s sperm. This test is conducted to determine fertility in a man. It is also one of the first tests to be prescribed to couples who are unable to conceive.
The semen analysis test primarily measures three factors concerning sperm.
- Sperm Volume – Quantity of the ejaculate
- Sperm Count – the number of healthy sperm cells present in the ejaculate
- Sperm Motility – the number of actively forward moving sperm cells in the ejaculate
- Sperm Morphology – the shape of sperm cells present in the ejaculate
A Semen analysis report will indicate clearly if any of the above factors are playing a role in your inability to conceive.
Why should you take a Semen Analysis Test?
Usually, a Semen Analysis test cost is prescribed when couples are unable to get pregnant. Many factors could be playing a part when it comes to conception. One of the primary factors is the semen parameter.
Therefore, a sperm analysis is the simplest way to determine whether a low sperm count or other issues with semen may be the reason for infertility.
How is Semen Analysis done?
- Avoid consumption of alcohol, caffeine, tobacco products or drugs for 5 days before the test.
- Avoid ejaculation for 3 to 5 days before the test.
- Avoid any herbal or hormonal medications as per the doctor’s guidance.
On the day of the test, you will be required to provide your semen sample to the clinic performing the semen examination. There are several ways to do this, however, masturbation remains the preferred and simplest way to do so.
The sample must be collected at and handed over to the clinic within 30 minutes of ejaculation.
Normal Semen Analysis Report
After completing Sperm Analysis, your result should be ready in a day. The analyst who tests the semen is comprehensively looking for several factors that may affect fertility. As mentioned earlier, the shape, number and movement of sperm cells are key factors when determining sperm cell viability. The criteria on which this viability is measured is as follows:
The sperm sample is said to be healthy if more than 4% of the sperm cells available are normally shaped as per WHO.
This should be more than 16 million/ml of ejaculation in a healthy semen sample. And a low number of sperm cells may result in infertility.
Sperm Movement or Motility
To fertilize the egg, the sperm cell must swim to its location through the uterus. Therefore, sperm movement is a key factor in determining male fertility. Healthy sperm should be able to remain motile an hour after ejaculation.42% of the motile sperm of which 30% are forward moving, constitute a healthy semen
Other than these, there are a few more criteria that are looked at during Semen Analysis. These are semen volume(amount), pH factor, liquefaction factor, and appearance of ejaculate.
Abnormal Semen Analysis Report
An abnormal sperm analysis may point to male infertility. It may also indicate several other conditions which include infection, hormonal imbalances, diseases like diabetes, and genetic defects.
Your doctor may recommend several follow up tests in the event of an abnormal result.
Post Semen Analysis Test
Being the key male fertility test, a normal report should indicate that your fertility health is on point. However, if your report was abnormal, the future isn’t so bleak.
There are sexual medically available options through which you can still plan conception. Certain factors causing male infertility can be eliminated with lifestyle changes. Remember, smoking, alcohol and other substance abuse all negatively impact male fertility.
Many clinical methods can be used to get plan conception. Intrauterine Insemination (IUI) where sperm cells are directly placed into a woman’s uterus. There is also In-Vitro Fertilization (IVF) where fertilization takes place outside the body and an embryo is transferred into the woman’s uterus.
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