Semen analysis testing or a sperm count test is used to analyse the quality, number, motility, and morphology of a man’s sperm. This test is performed to assess a man’s fertility and also the health and viability of his sperms. A semen analysis is often recommended when couples are having problems getting pregnant. The test will help a doctor determine if a man is infertile. The analysis will also help determine if low sperm count or sperm dysfunction is the reason behind infertility.
The preparation for a semen analysis will include various steps or measures, enumerated as below:
- Avoid ejaculation for 24 to 72 hours before depositing the specimen.
- Avoid alcohol, caffeine, and drugs 2 to 5 days before the test
- Avoid any hormonal medication that you are accustomed to taking otherwise
It is always recommended to give your sample by ejaculating it into a collection container at the clinic. But if you are uncomfortable, you can also collect the sample in many ways, like masturbating, sex with a condom or sex with your partner and withdrawing before ejaculation. Ensure to keep the semen at body temperature and deliver it to the testing facility within one hour of collecting the sample.
Semen Ejaculate Volume
The semen consists of a lot more than just sperm, a standard semen ejaculate in between 1.5 to 1.6 millilitres of fluid with sperm accounting for less than 5% of the same.
Total Sperm Number
This is the total number of sperm found in the semen sample. Generally, a sperm count of 39,000,000 sperm per ejaculate is considered the lower acceptable limit.
Sperm concentration is the number of sperm found in one millilitre of semen. The normal concentration should be at least 15,000,000 sperm per millilitre.
Sperm motility is the percentage of sperm that move. For successful fertilisation, there ought to be at least 40% sperm motility. Sperm must swim up the female reproductive tract to meet the egg. Being able to swim to their destination is essential.
Viability or Vitality
Sperm vitality is the number of live sperm in the semen sample. And this parameter is even more vital should the sperm motility be lower than usual. At least 60% of the sperm in a semen sample must be alive on average for successful chances of conception.
Sperm morphology refers to the shape of sperm cells A normally shaped sperm is characterised by – an oval-shaped head, with a clean, distinct cap covering it and no drops of fluid, alongside a regular looking neck and mid-section and a single tail. In the case of abnormal-looking sperm, they have a round head, or two tails or two heads.
Liquefaction is the semen’s ability to liquify that enables the sperm to swim better. When ejaculated, the semen is thick and viscous, and it is required to liquify within 20 to 30 minutes of ejaculation.
The measurement of the acidic or alkaline nature of the semen is known as Semen PH. The semen sample ought to be more alkaline, whereas the prostate fluids should be more acidic.
White Blood Cells (WBC)
All semen samples include white blood cells, which fight infection in the body. However, a higher-than-normal WBC count could be caused by an underlying infection. The WBC count must be less than 1 million per mil of the semen sample.