What is Semen Analysis, and Why is it Necessary?
The role of sperm is to transport genetic material to the egg where fertilization and conception take place. A semen analysis (SA) is the most useful diagnostic test of sperm concentration, motility, morphology, and count. The semen analysis helps the reproductive endocrinologist determine whether a male factor infertility exists.
The collection of the SA specimen can conveniently be done here at our office where we provide two private and comfortable rooms for men. Or, they may take a collection kit home and return the sample to our office for analysis.
Once the specimen is given to personnel in our Andrology Lab, it will be analyzed for the following factors and summarized in a report.
Sperm Count and Volume
This is the actual number of sperm in the specimen. A normal count ranges from 20 to 80 million sperm/mL (milliliter). A normal volume can range from 2.0 – 5.0 mL. To put things in perspective, an mL is approximately the amount in a teaspoon.
When low volume is reported, this can be due to various physiological reasons, including an obstruction in the ejaculatory ducts.
Motility refers to how sperm swim. It is within normal range for half of the sperm to be moving. Lab personnel will watch, under a microscope, how fast the sperm move, if they are moving in a forward direction and if this direction is in a straight line.
Morphology means shape. Abnormally shaped sperm may indicate an exposure to chemicals or toxins, or perhaps other issues are present.
The semen analysis report
The above components will be summarized in a report and provided to your doctor. This, along with the man’s medical history, physical examination and perhaps additional testing will provide a clear picture to assist the reproductive endocrinologist in making a diagnosis.
Instructions for a semen analysis
An appointment is necessary for this test. If you prefer to bring your sample to our office, it should be given to the Andrology Lab around the time of your scheduled appointment and within 60 minutes of collection.
The sample is collected by masturbation and is generally recommended that prior to producing a specimen men follow a two to seven day period of abstinence.