What to expect with semen analysis
Your Nashville or Franklin fertility specialist has ordered male fertility testing. That’s good news because it means you are one step closer to becoming a father. In order for semen analysis to result in the most accurate report, it’s important to refrain from ejaculating for 2 to 5 days prior to the scheduled appointment. If you are coming into the Nashville or Franklin fertility clinic, you will be admitted into a private room and leave a semen specimen by masturbating into a sterile container.
For some men, being present in the fertility center might make this personal process more challenging or uncomfortable. For this reason, you are welcome to collect a specimen in the privacy of your own home, but it’s important to use a sterile container, which is available to pick up at our office. That specimen must be brought to the lab within an hour of collection.
What makes a semen analysis normal or abnormal?
There are a number of different variables determined in semen analysis, which can help to understand potential roadblocks to fertility. The following is a brief look at each of these variables.
– Liquefaction time indicates the time it takes the semen to transform into a liquid. Following intercourse, the semen must liquefy quickly to allow the sperm to swim out of the acidity of the vagina and enter the cervix. A liquefaction time of 30 minutes or fewer is normal.
– Volume greater than 1.5 milliliters (approximately 1/2 to 1 teaspoon) of semen is normal. Sperm concentration is a measure of the number of sperm per milliliter of semen and that is considered the sperm count. Normal semen has at least 15 million sperm in each milliliter.
– Motility is the sperm’s forward or progressive swimming movement. In a normal semen specimen, 30% or more of the sperm are progressively motile and around 40% are motile. The sperm’s swimming motion helps to propel it up through the cervical canal and into the uterus and fallopian tubes and may be necessary for egg penetration during fertilization.
– Morphology is a description of the shape or form of the sperm. The morphology test we use at our Nashville and Franklin fertility center is called “strict morphology,” which evaluates many different aspects of sperm form. Normal sperm have an oval head and a long tail, but abnormal sperm might have defects, such as crooked tails or misshapen heads.
Because the morphology criteria are so strict, a normal semen sample surprisingly will have only about four or more sperm out of 100 with what’s considered normal form.
– Agglutination, or sticking together, of the sperm may indicate the presence of antisperm antibodies that can impede effective motility. The Immunobead test determines if sperm antibodies are present.
– The presence of round cells in the ejaculate, such as white blood cells and immature sperm cells, is examined to determine if there could possibly be an infection or inflammation. If more than 2 million round cells per milliliter are detected, a semen culture may be sent to determine the nature of these cells.
What’s next if a semen analysis is considered abnormal?
Once our Nashville or Franklin fertility specialists have analyzed the sperm specimen report, it’s then time to look at the options available to increase the chances for conception.
Depending on the circumstance, options could include:
- Intrauterine insemination (IUI)
- In vitro fertilization (IVF)
- IVF with intracytoplasmic sperm injection (ICSI)
- Microsurgical epididymal sperm aspiration (MESA)
- Testicular sperm extraction (TESE).
These procedures address even the most severe cases of male infertility. Contact us to arrange for a consultation with a Nashville or Franklin fertility specialist.