Author: Dr. Sai Manasa Darla, Consultant, Fertility Specialist & Laparoscopic Surgeon
About 30% of infertility cases are due to male factor infertility. And male infertility is a much more common condition than we think. A detailed medical and physical examination and a semen analysis is done to diagnose male factor infertility.
What is Semen Analysis?
Detailed semen analysis is a primary and basic procedure that is used to evaluate the fertility potential of a male by analyzing the sperm parameters. It is a procedure in which the health, vitality, and overall quality of a man’s semen and sperm are examined and evaluated.
The values that measure these parameters are compared with the standard values of WHO to establish a normal semen profile.
Sperm parameters analyzed in a semen analysis:
The semen ideally exhibits a milky whitish-to-grey appearance. The presence of a reddish-brown color indicates the presence of blood, and a yellow tint could indicate jaundice or a drug side effect.
2. pH level:
pH levels measure the alkalinity or acidity of the semen. Any change in the pH levels affects the health of the sperm. As per the WHO criteria, the ideal pH levels of semen can range anywhere from 7.2 to 7.8.
3. Sperm motility:
To fertilize an egg, a sperm has to move through the female reproductive system. It moves in a wriggling fashion. The sperm’s capacity to swim in the direction of an egg is known as motility.
Sperm motility quantifies the number of sperm that can move and categorizes sperm based on their movement. As per WHO standards, sperm motility should be between 40-50%.
4. Sperm concentration:
Sperm concentration, also called sperm count is the number of sperm present per millimeter of semen sample. A sperm count of 16 million/ml or above is considered to be a normal sperm count in semen analysis.
5. Sperm morphology:
Male fertility is greatly influenced by the sperm’s structure. A healthy sperm has an oval head, a slender mid-piece, and a tail. The sperm’s oval head and the long tail help in its movement and fertilization.
6. Semen volume:
One important factor influencing a man’s fertility potential is the amount of semen present during ejaculation. Normal semen volume values ranges between 1.4 and 5 ml.
Sperm vitality also known as sperm viability refers to the number of live sperm in the semen sample. The normal range for sperm vitality, according to the WHO reference value, is between 54% and 97%.
8. Time to liquefaction:
Generally, semen is released as a thick fluid which eventually turns into liquid. The time taken for the semen to liquefy is about 15 to 30 minutes. This liquefaction helps in the movement of the sperm.
9. White blood cells:
WBCs are generally present in the semen.
10. Fructose Level:
Semen consists of a type of sugar called Fructose. It provides nourishment for the sperm to move.
What do abnormal results mean?
In most cases abnormal semen analysis results may suggest the following conditions:
– Any abnormalities in the shape and structure of the sperm could reduce the fertility potential of a male to a large extent.
– Low sperm count indicates Oligozoospermia and might reduce the chances of getting your partner pregnant.
– Low motility values might indicate hormonal imbalances or the presence of a varicocele.
– Less semen volume could be due to partial or complete blockage or dysfunction in the seminal vesicles or prostate.
– Low fructose levels affect the viability of the sperm and also indicate a problem with the seminal vesicles.
– A higher pH than the ideal pH range of 7.2 to 7.8 could indicate the presence of an infection. A pH level of less than 7.0 indicates the acidic nature of the semen sample. It usually happens if the sample is contaminated or due to blocked ejaculatory ducts in males.
– A high number of WBCs in the semen sample indicates an infection or inflammation.
Semen Analysis at home:
Ferticheck, powered by Oasis Fertility, is a FDA approved fertility screening method for men. The aim is to provide a private and a convenient environment for men due to the associated social stigma. Sample collection and analysis will be done at the comfort your home and a detailed semen analysis report will be delivered within 30 minutes. Ferticheck semen analysis procedure uses 16 clinical parameters that measure sperm motility, count and structure, etc.
Semen analysis is an effective method to determine male infertility. Abnormal semen analysis results do not imply permanent infertility. It only helps in narrowing down the factors causing infertility in males. Upon further testing, the treatment can be discussed. Get in touch with our trusted fertility experts and unlock your path to parenthood.