Semen Analysis. Preparations and Results Interpretations
Semen analysis – spermiogram is an important diagnostic tool for assessing male fertility. Learn how to prepare for it, and what its results mean.
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Semen analysis, also called Spermiograms are crucial tests used to diagnose male fertility and determine the quality of sperm. Learn more about understanding their results.
What is a Semen Analysis?
A semen analysis, also called a seminogram or spermiogram, is a test of a man’s sperm and semen. It is done to help evaluate male fertility, whether for those seeking pregnancy or verifying the success of a vasectomy.
Semen analysis is one of the first steps taken to diagnose fertility problems in men where it looks at the volume and quality of the semen and sperm, and is usually performed along with a detailed medical and sexual history and a thorough physical examination.
The results of the semen analysis can help determine the underlying cause of any fertility issues, and provide important information for couples who are considering assisted reproductive techniques, such as in vitro fertilization (IVF).
What is Contained in Semen?
Semen is a thick, white fluid that is produced in the male reproductive system. It is made up of a combination of sperm and other fluids, including prostate fluid, seminal vesicle fluid, and testicular fluid.
The seminal vesicle fluid is the most abundant component, making up 70-80% of semen, and the prostate fluid makes up 10-30%. The testicular fluid makes up the remaining 10-20%. Sperm makes up only 2-5% of semen.
How is a Semen Analysis Performed?
A semen analysis is usually performed in a clinic or doctor’s office. The process involves producing a semen sample, which is then evaluated for the number and quality of sperm present. The sample is usually collected through masturbation, but it can also be collected from intercourse using a special condom.
Once the sample is collected, it will be evaluated for volume, pH, sperm count, motility, and morphology. The volume of the sample indicates the amount of semen produced by the man, while the pH helps to determine the acidity of the sperm. The sperm count measures the number of sperm present in the sample, while motility is an evaluation of how well the sperm move. Finally, morphology looks at the size and shape of the sperm.
Depending on the results of the semen analysis, further testing may be done to determine the underlying cause of any abnormalities. This can include hormone tests, genetic testing, or other medical tests.
Factors That Can Affect a Semen Analysis
When it comes to a semen analysis, there are various factors that can affect the results. These factors can include lifestyle choices, medications, illnesses, and even environmental conditions. In order to get accurate results, it is important to discuss any of these factors that may be impacting your fertility with your doctor before the test.
Lifestyle choices such as smoking, drinking alcohol, and using drugs can all affect fertility. Additionally, certain medications, such as antibiotics, can reduce sperm production. It is also important to consider any illnesses that you may have, such as diabetes or an infection, as these can affect sperm production and quality. Finally, environmental conditions such as hot tubs or saunas can also impact sperm production and quality.
It is important to keep these factors in mind when preparing for a semen analysis. By discussing any potential issues with your doctor, you can ensure that you get the most accurate results possible.
Preparing for a Semen Analysis
Preparing for a semen analysis is relatively straightforward. Generally, no special preparations are required for the test. However, it is important to note that abstinence from sexual activity for two to five days prior to the test is recommended. This is because activity can affect the number and quality of sperm.
Additionally, avoid using any lubricants or spermicides during the two to five days prior to the test as they can also have an effect on the results. It is also important to note that the results of semen analysis can vary significantly, so multiple tests may be performed over a period of time.
Interpreting the Results of a Semen Analysis
Interpreting the results of a semen analysis can be difficult and requires knowledge and experience. The results are usually reported as:
- Volume: it refers to the amount of sperm in your sample. Infertility may result from a low volume.
- pH: The pH of semen describes its acidity. Abnormal acidity can kill sperm or impair their ability to move.
- A sperm concentration: measured in millions of sperm per milliliter of semen, it measures how close together the sperm are in your semen.
- Total sperm count: It is the number of sperm in the entire sample.
- Motility: the percentage of sperm that are actively moving, To fertilise an egg, sperm must be able to move forward.
- Morphology: the percentage of sperm that have a normal shape, Sperm with unusual shapes may be incapable of fertilising an egg.
Abnormal results may indicate a fertility issue or other underlying medical condition. A doctor can provide further interpretation of the results and discuss any further testing or treatment options that may be necessary.
- Testosterone Levels Test.
- Follicle-Stimulating Hormone (FSH) Levels Test.
- Luteinizing Hormone (LH) Levels Test.
- DHEA Sulfate Test.
- SHBG Blood Test.
When a semen analysis is performed, It is important to ensure that the laboratory is reputable and certified as well as that the sample is collected and handled correctly. Improper sample collection, storage, or handling can lead to inaccurate results. Additionally, it is important to inform your doctor of any medical conditions prior to having the test completed.