A semen analysis is generally the first male infertility test performed during a couple’s fertility assessment by a male infertility doctor of South Florida. Semen is the fluid released during a male ejaculation. This fluid contains and carries the sperm cells required for reproduction. The semen is collected by masturbation into a sterile specimen cup and assessment usually begins within in an hour of that time for the highest level of accuracy. If masturbation is not culturally acceptable, there are special condoms that can be used to collect the semen during intercourse. It is best to have a semen analysis done twice a few weeks apart for the most accurate results because the same man can have different results at different times. . A semen analysis will look for:
- Complete absence of sperm (azoospermia)
- Low sperm count (oligospermia)
- Abnormal sperm shape (teratozoospermia)
- Problems with sperm movement (asthenozoospermia)
- Sperm that is completely immobile (necrozoospermia); the sperm may be alive and not moving, or they may be dead
The sample will be examined by infertility clinic doctors of South Florida and several assessments will be taken; volume, total count, concentration, motility, and morphology
The quantity or volume of semen a man produces will be measured first. Normally a man produces one and a half to five milliliters of semen during ejaculation. When the volume is considerably lower than one milliliter, it can indicate a prostate or seminal vesicle defect. This can affect the sperm’s ability be delivered effectively to the cervix. If the volume of semen is too high, it can decrease concentration of the sperm, which can also impair effective delivery.
Total Sperm Count
Total Sperm count refers to the total number of spermatozoa in the ejaculate.
The concentration of sperm cells is the semen is commonly referred to as the sperm count. “Normal” sperm count, as defined by the WHO is approximately 20 million spermatozoa per milliliter of semen. A diagnosis of low sperm count during infertility testing can mean several things. There may be a problem with the production of sperm or there may be a physical obstruction that is inhibiting the normal movement of sperm from the testes. The most common form of male infertility is a low sperm count
Sperm motility refers to the percentage of sperm that are moving properly. Sperm which do not properly ‘swim’, will not reach the egg in order to fertilize it. Although a semen analysis always detects a certain percentage of sperm cells that move irregularly or do not move at all, when the majority of sperm show poor motility, the chances of conception are significantly decreased. The most common causes of poor motility are varicoceles and infections.
Morphology refers to the shape of sperm. A normal sperm cell has an oval head and a single thin tail. Abnormally shaped sperm, such as those with an additional tail or a misshapen head, are not considered capable of fertilization. A sperm sample isn’t considered out of the normal range unless most of the sperm are abnormally shaped. If pregnancy does occur, having abnormal sperm morphology doesn’t increase the risk of having a child with birth defects. When a significant number of abnormally shaped sperm are found, additional infertility testing is usually needed to determine what is affecting their production.
Hormones are the chemicals in the body that control sperm production. A simple infertility hormonal testing procedure involves measuring the levels of testosterone, FSH, and LH in the blood. High or low levels of any of these hormones can have significant effects on sperm production and a man’s ability to have sex.