What You Need to Know About Semen Analysis

Finding out a man’s sperm count and sperm quality is an important information you should know when trying to conceive a child. Problems in sperm count and quality cause almost half of couples to have difficulty conceiving children. Contrary to popular belief, semen analysis is not a fertility test – it’s only one of the tests that explains possible causes of a man’s infertility.

What is a semen analysis?

A semen analysis, also known as sperm count test, examines the overall health of semen produced by a man. It specifically measures the amount of the semen and determines sperm number and quality in the semen sample.

Is semen analysis a test for fertility?

As mentioned, semen analysis is not a fertility test. A test for fertility is basically a couple-related phenomenon, requiring the initiation of a pregnancy. A man can’t be considered infertile based only on abnormal semen analysis results. Many men who have poor semen continue to father children. Conversely, one source reports that 30% of patients who have normal semen analysis results have poor sperm function.

What preparations should be made before the semen analysis?

Avoid all sexual activities that result in ejaculation for 2-5 days before the test. This ensures that the sperm count is at its highest. It also ensures the reliability of the semen analysis. However, don’t avoid sexual activities for over 1-2 weeks prior to the test since less active sperm results after a long period of sexual inactivity. You should also avoid drinking alcohol a few days prior to the test.

How is semen sample collected?

There are three ways to produce and collect a semen sample. The most common is by masturbation, wherein you aim your semen into a clean sample cup. You can do this in the clinic’s bathroom or at home. If you’re not comfortable masturbating, you can collect a sample during intercourse using a special type of condom called collection condom. Another option is through coitus interruptus (withdrawal). Here, the man withdraws his penis from his partner and then ejaculates into a clean cup.

What are the tests done during a semen analysis?

There are a number of tests done during a sperm analysis: sperm count or the number of sperm per ml semen in a single ejaculation, volume or how much semen is there in an ejaculation, liquefaction time or the time it takes for the semen to liquefy. Other tests include sperm morphology, sperm motility, pH, white blood cell count, and fructose level.