Frequently Asked Questions About Semen Analysis

While infertility is often discussed as being a female reproductive issue, male factor infertility plays a role in about half of all cases. As such, couples who have been trying to conceive for a long time without any success often turn to semen analysis testing to determine whether there are any issues with the male’s fertility. Here are some common questions that patients have about the exam.

1. What does a semen analysis test for?

A semen analysis determines the overall health of a semen sample by measuring sperm count, morphology (shape), and motility (movement).

2. What is considered a “normal” result for semen analysis?

For a semen analysis, the WHO defines a healthy sample as having:

●  A concentration of 20 million sperm per ml of ejaculate

●  An ejaculate volume of 1.5 to 5.0 ml

● At least 30% normally shaped sperm

● At least 50% moving sperm

●  Minimal clumping

●  A normal viscosity

3. Are there different types of semen analysis tests?

Different types of semen analysis tests exist for different reasons. A complete semen analysis, for example, is used to determine male infertility, whereas a partial semen analysis will be used after a vasectomy to determine whether the procedure has been successful. There is also retrograde semen analysis, which is used in cases where the patient is unable to ejaculate from their penis. This can happen as a result of a spinal cord injury or other medical complications.

4. How is the sperm analysis test conducted?

The patient provides his doctor with a semen sample, which can be prepared through masturbation, sex followed by pulling out and ejaculating into a container, or sex using a condom. If the patient is unable to produce a sample through these methods, there are a wide variety of sperm retrieval techniques available.

Once the sample has been provided, the semen will be tested in a laboratory for the aforementioned factors.

5. How do I prepare for a sperm analysis?

In order to yield the most accurate results, it’s important that patients take proper preparations before making the sample. These precautions include:

●  Avoiding ejaculation for two to five days prior to the test

●  Avoiding any medications that may negatively impact the results, as instructed by your doctor

●  Avoiding caffeine, alcohol, and drugs for at least two days before the test

6. Should I get a semen analysis?

If you and your partner have been trying to conceive for a while but haven’t been successful, a semen analysis can help determine if there is sperm dysfunction of some kind. To learn more about semen analysis and male fertility or to schedule an appointment in the San Diego area, contact the Fertility Center of California today.