Semen Analysis: Procedure & Results

As studies have revealed, %7 of men in the world are suffering from fertility problems. The most important factor in fertility treatments is diagnosing the cause of the problem; so, at the beginning of the treatment, your urologist will do physical examinations on you and ask you to take lab tests.

A Spermogram test or semen analysis is one of the most reliable and accurate lab tests that give you and your doctor a lot of information about the quantity and quality of your semen and sperm. You may be asked to take this test three or four times seven days.

spermogram test

What Is Semen Analysis and How Is It Done? 

Semen analysis is an important fertility test through which the sperm’s count, shape, size, and motility are evaluated. Also, in spermogram, factors such as the volume of the semen, liquefaction of the semen, number of white blood cells, and pH of the semen are measured. 

During the semen analysis, which is usually performed in a laboratory, you have to masturbate in a sterile cup. No additional oil or material should be used during the test as it affects the accuracy of the test results. In some cases when the patient cannot ejaculate solely, the doctor asks him to have sexual intercourse with his partner and take the semen sample to the laboratory within one hour. It is noteworthy that during the transfer, the semen sample should not be exposed to sunlight or get heated or cooled.

There are several items to consider when performing a sperm test.

How to Prepare for Semen Analysis?

Although spermogram test is a quite simple procedure, you have to consider the following tips before the test.

  • Avoid ejaculation for 2 to 5 days before the test;
  • Avoid drinking alcohol;
  • Stop smoking for at least one week before the test;
  • Inform your doctor about the meds you are taking;
  • Avoid using herbal supplements before the test;
  • Avoid taking a hot shower or going to the sauna the night before the test; and
  • Do not drink caffeine beverages, specifically energy drinks. 

Semen Analysis Result and How to Interpret It

Depending on the factors to be analyzed, the result of the semen analysis will be handed to you within 24 to 72 hours. There are many factors to consider in a spermogram including:

  • the shape of the sperms,
  • the motility of the sperms,
  • the semen pH
  • the volume of the semen, etc.

normal sperm analysis

A fertile man’s sperms are motile for one hour after the ejaculation and their shapes are normal. However, if there are abnormalities in the head, middle, or tail of the sperms or if %50 of them do not move for one hour, the man may have a fertility problem. 

Moreover, the pH level of the semen should be between 7.2 and 7.8. A pH level above 8.0 can indicate that the sperm donor is infected. A result less than 7.0 may indicate that the sample is contaminated or that the male ejaculatory ducts are blocked. Also, naturally, the semen volume should be more than 2 ml. Low semen volume shows that the sperm count is low. On the other hand, too much semen can also mean that the semen is watery and has low quality.

آزمایش های لازم قبل از اهدای اسپرم
Read more: Treatment for Low Sperm Count

A sample of a sperm analysis result

One of the main factors to be analyzed in semen analysis is the sperm count. Normally, there should be 15 to 200 million sperm in each ejaculation. If there are less than 15 million sperms in your semen, your chance to get your partner pregnant decreases. Low semen volume and low sperm count can occur in men who have testosterone deficiency or suffer from a congenital bilateral absence of the vas deferens (CBAVD).

استفاده از روش های کمک باروری از راههای درمان اسپرم صفر برای بارداری
Read more: Treatments for Azoospermia (No Sperm Count)

Factors Affecting Spermogram Test

If you are about to take spermogram test, you should know that some factors can affect the test result. These factors include:

  • Using drugs such as cocaine, marijuana, and tobacco;
  • Using too much caffeine;
  • Using hormonal and chemotherapy medicines;
  • Wearing tight underwear for a long period;
  • Take a hot bath every day;
  • Taking herbal supplements without prescription; 
  • Constant exposure to heat, radiation, and chemicals; and
  • Not ejaculating for more than a week.

If you are about to take spermogram test, you should know that some factors can affect the test result.

Semen Analysis and other Fertility Tests

It is worth mentioning that if your semen test’s results are reported to be abnormal, your doctor may suggest that you take other tests such as: 

  • Genetic testing (also called DNA test);
  • Hormone test;
  • Post ejaculation urinalysis (PEU);
  • Follicle-stimulating hormone (FSH);
  • Prolactin;
  • Testicular biopsy (taking samples from testicles); and
  • Antisperm antibody test.

In general, a semen analysis can provide a variety of information that may help determine the factors that affect your fertility. In addition, most fertility specialists prefer to have your full medical history and do physical examinations on you to identify the cause of infertility precisely.

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