A semen analysis is the method in which amounts of sperm that a man produces is measured and the number of sperm and quality of the sperm is concluded.
It is normally carried out to see whether a man is infertile and cannot father a child. For every couple who cannot have a child, a problem with a man’s semen or sperm accounts for more than a third of couples with a infertility problem. Alternative reasons for a sperm analysis could be to see whether a vasectomy has been successful and similarly to check whether a reversal vasectomy has been successful.
The tests that are usually conducted during a sperm analysis are:
This is to calculate the number of sperm that is present in every millimetre (ml) of sperm in every one ejaculation.
This shows how much semen exists in one ejaculation.
Sperm is of a thick gel like consistency straight after ejaculation which later becomes liquid about 20 minutes after. This test shows how long this takes the semen to liquidise.
This measures the amount of sperm that can move forward in a normal way. The number of sperm found in semen that move forward normally can also be measured; this is known as motile density.
This is to see what percentage of sperm has the normal shape.
These are measured to see how acidic (low pH) or how alkaline (not acidic) the semen is.
White blood cell count
White blood cells are not usually found in semen.
A sugar called Fructose is naturally found in semen and this test measures the amount. Fructose provides the sperm with energy.
If you are to undergo a semen analysis you will need to make the necessary preparations beforehand. This means no sexual activity that will end in ejaculation for 2 to 5 days before the semen analysis. By doing so this will guarantee that the sperm count will be as high as possible which will ensure the test’s efficacy and reliability. Try not to avoid sexual activity for more than 1 to 2 weeks before the test as a long period of abstinence can lead to inactive sperm. Do not drink alcohol a few days prior to the test and tell your doctor about any medications you may be taking.
Sperm analysis is performed by a semen sample being ejaculated in a small sample cup. You can do this in the privacy of your own home or in the bathroom at a hospital or clinic where you are having the test. The most usual way of collecting the sample is through masturbation into the sample cup. You can also collect a sample after sex by either ejaculating into the cup during sex just before you ejaculate or collecting semen from a condom that can be put in a special container to that it does not break or leak.
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