For the man, there’s no escaping it as male infertility accounts for a significant amount of the cases where a couple can’t get pregnant. To alleviate fears and get you better prepared here are some quick facts you need to know.
1. What is a semen analysis?
A semen analysis is one of the 1st line investigation tests for the male partner after the couple have been trying to conceive unsuccessfully for more than 1 year. The test analyses the sperm count (to see how many), the motility rate (what percentage swim), the morphology (what percentage are normal) progression and volume.
2. Why is it done?
To assess the above parameters to ensure they do not fall below the normal levels. If they do, this can be the underlying cause of the couple’s infertility.
3. How should a man prepare before taking this test?
He needs 2 – 4 days of abstinence (so no sex) – not any more or less to evaluate the optimum live sperm count. Sperm die off every 3 days so if the man has a long period of abstinence you get lots of dead sperm and the count is not as accurate as it should be.
4. How is the semen analysis performed?
It is performed by masturbating and shooting the sample into a sterile container to be analysed by a qualified technician at a lab.
5. Can it be done at home?
Yes, as long as it can reach to the lab within 60 – 90 minutes of production. Men, who find it difficult to produce a sample via masturbation for religious reasons etc, can produce the sample using a specialised condom. These condoms and instruction on how to collect the sample must be obtained from our clinic.
6. Should a man feel embarrassed about this type of procedure?
Not at all. It is an easy test and non invasive.
7. Are there any risks involved in doing this?
No, it’s completely harmless.
8. What type of results can men expect from the tests?
Each result is individual – some men have normal counts, some have low counts and some men have no sperm at all. The tests results will determine what course of action you and your partner need to take to achieve your pregnancy.
9. Are there things that can affect the semen analysis?
Yes recreational drugs, some medications i.e. steroids, hormones, smoking and heavy alcohol as well as environmental factors use can drop sperm counts.
Yes be aware of any pre-appointment restrictions. At the time you make the appointment, be sure to ask if there’s anything you need to do in advance. If a semen analysis is scheduled, you will need to refrain from ejaculating for 2-7 days prior to the collection.