Understanding Semen Analysis

Semen analysis is a crucial diagnostic test for evaluating male fertility. It involves the examination of semen samples to determine the sperm count, motility, morphology, and other factors affecting fertility. If you and your partner have been trying to conceive a baby for a while without success, you may be wondering if there’s a problem with the sperm. 

A semen analysis, also known as a sperm examination, is a simple test that measures the quantity and quality of semen and sperm. It can help determine if a problem with semen or sperm is causing infertility.

What is a Semen Analysis and what are the basic tests involved?

During sexual climax, the thick white fluid that is released from the penis is called semen, which contains sperm, the cells made in the male reproductive system that include the genetic material needed to make a baby. If the sperm count or motility is low, it can make it difficult to get pregnant. In this case, a semen analysis can help identify the issue and provide insight into potential solutions.


Why is a semen analysis required ?

A semen analysis is commonly performed for two reasons:

  1. To evaluate male fertility in couples who are experiencing difficulty conceiving.
  2. To verify the effectiveness of a vasectomy by examining semen for the presence of sperm.


What to expect in a semen analysis procedure –

To prepare for a semen analysis, patients are typically advised to follow certain guidelines. These may include refraining from sexual activity, including masturbation, for a period of 2 to 5 days prior to the test. 

It is also recommended that patients avoid consuming alcohol, caffeine, and drugs during this time, and to refrain from taking any herbal supplements or hormone medications.

During the test, patients should not use any lubricants while collecting the semen sample. The preferred method for collecting the sample is by ejaculating directly into a collection container at the clinic. 

However, if this is uncomfortable, patients may also collect the sample through methods such as masturbation, sex with a non-spermicidal condom, or sex with a partner followed by withdrawal before ejaculation. It is important to maintain the semen at body temperature and deliver the sample to the testing facility within half an hour of collection.

Your semen analysis will include measurements that describe your semen and sperm, such as volume, sperm count, sperm concentration, sperm motility, sperm morphology, pH, and white blood cells. Abnormalities in any of these measurements could indicate a problem with the sperm, but it doesn’t necessarily mean that you’re permanently infertile or are the only reason for a couple not having children. It could be contributing factor. 

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Do Men get uncomfortable getting a Semen Analysis ?

Men may hesitate to undergo a semen analysis when it is suggested by their gynaecologist or fertility clinic due to the sensitive nature of the topic. Some men fear being judged and worry that discovering infertility may make them appear less masculine or cause their partner to lose respect or leave them.

In some cases, religious objections may prevent men from agreeing to the test, which could include producing a semen sample for testing or fertility treatments.

Additionally, anxiety related to the need to masturbate in a fertility clinic may also deter some men from undergoing a semen analysis. Overall, there are a variety of reasons why some men may be hesitant to have this test performed.


How beneficial is an early analysis ?

Undergoing early sperm analysis is beneficial as it allows for prompt identification of any fertility issues. If treatment solely focuses on the woman’s fertility without considering the possibility of male infertility, the chances of success may be reduced or completely eliminated.

Additionally, age is an important factor to consider, particularly for women over 35 years old, as their fertility declines more rapidly. Prolonged inappropriate treatment may result in reduced success rates once the appropriate treatment is identified.

If the male partner is five or more years older than the female, this can also significantly increase the risk of infertility. It is therefore crucial to avoid wasting time and undergo testing as soon as possible.   

If male fertility testing is not performed beforehand without proper diagnosis, it could also result in wastage of their money/ funds. This is because the treatment may not be effective and could require additional treatments which may be more expensive, making it essential to avoid unnecessary expenditures on treatments that cannot yield the desired results due to undiagnosed male infertility. Thus, it is wise to undergo male fertility testing at the beginning to save money in the long term.

If your semen analysis results aren’t all normal, your doctor may order more tests to determine the cause of the problem so that it can be treated. Several factors can contribute to infertility, including smoking, physical problems in the testicles, certain genetic disorders, hormone disorders, diabetes, and cystic fibrosis.

Treatment for infertility depends on the cause, and your healthcare provider may refer you to a specialist in infertility to improve your chances of having a baby. Meanwhile, the results of your semen analysis can help you take appropriate steps to address any issues and move closer to achieving your goal of starting a family.