What Is Semen Analysis?
Semen is the fluid that contains sperm plus other sugar and protein substances and is released during ejaculation.
A procedure in which fertility specialists examine and evaluate the health, vitality, and overall quality of a man’s semen and sperm is known as Semen Analysis. Also known as the sperm count test, a semen sample is used by a lab technician to check for a number of aspects that may affect overall fertility.
The examination is an important part of many fertility treatments, ranging from in vitro fertilization (IVF) and intrauterine insemination (IUI) to a general diagnosis of infertility.
Usually, two or three different sperm analysis tests are conducted to get a good idea of sperm’s health. Conducted at least seven days apart and over the course of two to three months, an average of the sperm samples taken gives the most conclusive result.
Conducted at Least Seven Days Apart and Over the Course of Two to Three Months, an Average of the Sperm Samples Taken Gives the Most Conclusive Result.
Why Undergo Semen Analysis?
If a man sees problems in getting his partner pregnant after trying to conceive for a few months or a year, then semen analysis is recommended. This assessment of male fertility is to be performed in addition to a female fertility assessment.
Semen analysis is able to measure a number of different things regarding semen as well as sperm. This includes all of the following:
- Sperm Count – The number of sperm per milliliter of semen is known as the sperm count. The normal sperm count in the semen analysis should be between 20 million to over 200 million. Low sperm count can make conceiving difficult.
- Sperm Motility – The ability for the sperm to swim properly is known as sperm motility and is important to fertility because sperm must travel to fertilize an egg and is less likely to fertilize eggs if it is unable to do so.
- Sperm Morphology – The shape and anatomy of the sperm play a major role in fertility. More than 50 percent of abnormally shaped sperms reduce fertility to a large extent. The lab tests can identify abnormalities in the sperm’s head, midsection, or tail. There is also a possibility that the sperm can be immature and therefore not able to effectively fertilize an egg.
- Semen Volume – The amount of semen present when a man ejaculates has a major impact on his ability to get his partner pregnant. A normal measure should be greater than 2 milliliters and a low semen volume indicates a low amount of sperm reducing its ability to fertilize an egg. However, an excess of fluid volume could also indicate the dilution of the amount of sperm present.
- Liquefaction Time – Generally gel-like for 20 minutes after ejaculation, semen eventually turns into liquid. Lack of ability of the sperm to liquefy, within 15 to 30 minutes can lead to reduced fertility as the liquefaction helps sperm to move.
- Fructose Level – The sugar present in semen that helps nourish and give energy to the sperm is called fructose. Low fructose levels can affect the viability of the sperm.
- Semen pH – Any issue with acidity or alkalinity of the semen can compromise the health of the sperm.
- pH level – The ideal pH level should be between 7.2 and 7.8. Higher than 8.0 Ph level could indicate an infection and less than 7.0 could indicate that the specimen is contaminated or that the ejaculatory ducts of the man are blocked.
- Appearance – The semen should be whitish to grey and opalescent in appearance. A red-brown tint could indicate the presence of blood, while a yellow tint could indicate jaundice or a side effect of medication.
What do abnormal results mean?
It is difficult for an abnormal sperm to penetrate eggs, making the conception difficult.
Abnormal results may indicate the following factors:
- hormonal imbalance
- disease, such as diabetes
- gene defects
- exposure to radiation
Some additional tests can be recommended by the doctor if the results come back. These tests may include:
- genetic tests
- hormone testing
- urinalysis after ejaculation
- taking a tissue sample from the testicles
- anti-sperm immune cells testing
After the tests have been done, the semen analyzed and notes of the issues taken, the fertility specialist can develop a custom treatment plan for the patient.
Treating Male Infertility
A fertility specialist may address some cases of male infertility through lifestyle changes like wearing the right kind of underwear and an optimized diet to resolve issues with semen composition and pH. These changes can be discussed in greater detail with the fertility specialist depending on your needs.
However, if there are issues with sperm count or sperm motility, it is advisable to consider fertility treatments like IVF and IUI, which can boost the likelihood of having a child to great extent. The use of a sperm donor may be recommended as the best option in some cases for starting a family.
Why undergo semen analysis?
Semen analysis is an optimum method of finding male infertility. Mostly recommended when couples are having problems getting pregnant, the test helps a doctor to determine if a man is infertile.
The analysis can also help establish if low sperm count or sperm dysfunction is causing infertility.
Outlook after a semen analysis
A careful collection and analysis of multiple specimens can lead to appropriate semen analysis and can provide a variety of information that can be a determining factor that affects male fertility. In case of abnormal tests, the fertility specialist can help establish the line of lifestyle changes and an appropriate line of treatment.
For more information about treating male infertility and how we can help you, be sure to contact Dr. Shivani Bhutani, a top fertility specialist at Eva Hospital Ludhiana.
The hospital uses state-of-the-art technology to improve the fertility chances for couples who are looking to start a family