Semen analysis, or semen testing, is one of the most fundamental tests used in the diagnosis and analysis of male infertility problems. This testing provides important information about the quality and quantity of a man's sperm.
What is the process for semen testing?
During semen testing, the semen sample is analyzed for volume, viscosity (thickness), pH and color of the ejaculate, sperm concentration and other factors. The sample is also examined for the presence of white or red blood cells which may indicate infection or inflammation. We perform both manual and computer assisted semen analyses (also known as CASA). From this simple test, we can tell how many sperm are present, how many appear normal and how many are moving.
Sperm count testing does not assess sperm function. It does not answer the question “are the sperm good enough to conceive”. More sophisticated tests of sperm quality such as the Sperm Chromatin Structure Assay (SCSA) can better help assess the “health” of the sperm when looking deeper into the causes or reasons for male infertility.
Your semen sample should be collected at a laboratory in a special sterile container. This should be done after a 2-3 day period of abstinence from ejaculation. Alternatively, the sample may be brought in from home within 1 hour of ejaculation. The sample should be maintained at body temperature which can easily be done by placing the container in a shirt pocket or elsewhere near the body. No lubrication should be used while obtaining the sample as such substances can be toxic to sperm.
We understand that due to religious reasons, you may prefer that your sample be obtained during intercourse. For such cases, our offices will provide a special condom designed for this express purpose.
It is recommended that a minimum of two separate samples be collected for sperm testing. These should be collected several weeks apart. Sperm counts tend to fluctuate, thus we never rely on just one count.
Sperm DNA Fragmentation Analysis
Testing the sperm for the level of DNA damage can provide insight and information as to how the sperm will perform under various conditions such as natural conception, Intra-uterine Insemination (IUI) and In-Vitro Fertilization (IVF).
By combining this information with the parameters of the semen analysis and other tests a much clearer picture can be obtained of a man’s fertility potential. These tests allow us to direct a couple to the therapy that will help achieve their reproductive goals in the least invasive, least expensive and quickest manner possible.
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