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Semen Analysis

A semen analysis is the basic test of male fertility

Because semen analysis provides valuable information about a man’s fertility potential, it is important that this test be performed by medical professionals who understand the importance of proper specimen handling, preparation and evaluation.

All of the embryologists and andrologists at Ovation® Fertility have been specially trained in state-of-the-art procedures for semen analysis. They are sensitive to both scheduling issues and the embarrassment that men often feel in relation to this test. They will work with you to allow you to collect a semen sample for this test in the environment that will lead to the best-quality specimen.

Collecting a sample

While some men are fine with collecting in a specially designed private room at Ovation, others prefer to collect at home. Regardless, as long as our andrologists are aware of any special circumstances, accommodations can be made to make you as comfortable as possible.

To allow an appropriate amount of time to evaluate each specimen, all semen analyses must be scheduled in advance with Ovation. You should abstain from ejaculation for two to five days before the semen analysis is performed, so that we can obtain a true, reliable result. All results are reviewed by our andrologists as well as your physician, who will review the results with you at a consultation visit.

Why do I need this test?

Approximately 50% of all couples with infertility have some degree of male factor involvement. Semen test results can change with time, so even if you have had a child in the past or a normal result years ago, an updated semen analysis will almost always be requested as part of the initial fertility evaluation.

A semen analysis will detect a low sperm count, abnormally shaped sperm, and sperm that are not motile (not swimming). If there is an issue with any of your semen parameters, your physician will provide you with a comprehensive list of the reasonable treatment options you have. If a significant abnormality is present, your fertility specialist will also likely recommend that you see a fertility urologist for further testing.

Normal semen analysis results

Volume – The amount of fluid produced in the ejaculate. The volume should be at least 1.5 milliliters.

Concentration – The number of sperm in the ejaculate divided by the volume of the ejaculate. A normal specimen should contain at least 16 million sperm per milliliter of semen.

Motility – The percentage of rapidly swimming sperm. At least 42% of the sperm in the ejaculate should be motile.

Morphology (shape) – The percentage of sperm with a normal shape. Normal sperm have a single, oval-shaped head; a midpiece; and a single tail. The head contains the male chromosomes; the midpiece generates the energy required for the sperm to function and swim, and the tail propels the sperm through the female reproductive tract. Abnormally shaped sperm are very common and make up the majority of the sperm, even in a normal semen specimen. Many researchers believe that abnormally shaped sperm are less likely to be able to fertilize an egg. At least 4% of the sperm in an ejaculate should be shaped normally, although lower percentages of normal sperm can still result in normal fertilization rates and successful pregnancies.

Other parameters, such as the presence of white blood cells (which may indicate a treatable infection) and viscosity (thickness of the seminal fluid), will also be tested.

Contact us to arrange for a new patient consultation with one of our fertility doctors. If you have been trying to get pregnant and suspect the cause may be male infertility, know that our doctors have the experience and skill to help most men successfully overcome a diagnosis of male infertility and go on to have healthy children.