A semen analysis is the first step to detect any fertility issues in men. Tests are conducted to analyse the quality and quantity of sperm. Semen analysis is done by taking a sample of sperm and analysing it in a laboratory to determine the underlying cause of male infertility.
Prepping for a semen sample
- Refrain from having sexual intercourse two to three days prior to the test
- Avoid activities such as sitting in a hot bathtub, usage of car seat warmers etc.
- High fever might affect your sperm counts
- Lifestyle changes: avoid smoking, consuming alcohol and caffeine and recreational drugs before the semen analysis
Note: If a person wants to boost their chances of conceiving, it is suggested that they give up smoking and drinking excessively in the long run. Given that the sperm generation process might take up to two to three months, it’s unlikely that changing your lifestyle for a week will make a significant change in your test results.
Collection of the semen sample
- Collected by self-stimulation(masturbation) directly into a sterilised container
- As suggested by experts, avoid using lubricants that can harm sperm sample
- Saliva might harm sperm, so refrain from using saliva as a lubricant
- Consult with your doctor for specialised and approved lubricants that are used during fertility tests and treatments
- Set aside a room for a semen sample
- A sample of sperm must be analysed within a certain amount of time
Once the sample is submitted, ask your doctor about the next steps.
Reasons why and when you might need a semen analysis
Vasectomy: The success of a vasectomy is determined by a semen analysis. This treatment prevents sperm from being deposited in the sperm tubes. If there are no sperm in the semen, the vasectomy was successful, leading to unsuccessful conception.
Male infertility: If a couple has been unable to conceive, a semen anomaly may be the cause. A semen analysis determines the chances of a male’s contribution towards pregnancy.
Do not lose hope if results aren’t positive
Don’t be disheartened if you receive abnormal semen results because it is not necessarily a sign of male infertility.
Consult with your doctor for what could be the next steps or possible treatment options like IUI, IVF, ICSI, hormonal treatment, surgery (varicoceles) or a third party (donor’s sperm).
How long does it take to analyse sperm?
The semen analysis takes around 15-20 minutes to complete. It could suggest a problem if yours takes longer or doesn’t become liquid at all—the amount of fructose in the body. If your doctor can’t discover any sperm in your sperm sample, they’ll most likely look for seminal fructose, which is produced by your seminal vesicles.
What should be avoided before semen analysis?
Men should avoid ejaculation for two to three days before the test and do not take any medications without consultation.
What if a person is hesitant to go ahead with the test?
Have an in-depth conversation with your fertility expert. Explain reasons for not wanting to do the tests as it is important to undergo the test to determine sperm related causes of infertility.