Why do I need a semen analysis?
About a third of all problems with fertility are due to male infertility issues. Often a man could be completely healthy, but produce poor quality sperm. Some men may have more serious medical problems, such as low male sex hormones, or testosterone levels.
Semen analysis is the most important male infertility test. It accurately measures the number of sperm, their motility (ability to move), their morphology (size and shape), and the volume and consistency of the ejaculated sample.
It’s a simple test to undertake, and our dedicated male infertility clinic will support you with any diagnostic or surgical services you need.
How does semen analysis work?
You will need to produce a semen sample by masturbation, following 3 days abstinence from ejaculation. Collect the entire amount ejaculated in a sterile specimen container and bring it to one of our andrology labs, located throughout Sydney, Central Coast and Newcastle. It is essential to first make an appointment with one of our laboratories, so that the semen sample can be analysed within one hour, in order to avoid compromising the sample.
If you prefer, you can produce the sample in a private room at one of IVFAustralia’s clinics.
Our andrology scientists then assess semen appearance, colour, pH and Leukocyte presence. They count the sperm numbers (concentration) and the sperm motility (how fast sperm are moving). A normal result would show a sperm count of at least 20million sperm per mL, with at least half showing forward progressive movement.
The morphology (shape) of sperm is also assessed. If indicated, the sperm vitality can also be counted (the percentage of immotile sperm that are alive or dead) based on the effects of a dye on the sperm.
If we find abnormalities, we often require repeat tests to assess the type and degree of the problem, and whether it is a persistent feature. Sperm have a lifecycle of 72 days, so if you are ill or stressed it can temporarily affect your sperm production quality.
How do you treat male infertility?
If you have a low sperm count, poor sperm movement, or high numbers of abnormally shaped sperm, then Intracytoplasmic Sperm Injection (ICSI) can be used as part of your IVF treatment cycle.
If sperm stick to each other head-to-head, tail-to-tail or in a mixed way, this is known as agglutination, and the presence of sperm antibodies may be the cause. Put simply, that means you’ve developed antibodies against your own sperm, and it can significantly affect sperm penetration into the cervical mucus, and the success of any IVF treatment. ICSI is used to overcome this issue as well.
Sperm DNA testing
For some patients, we may recommend testing for DNA fragmentation within the sperm.
If you have experienced recurrent miscarriage, or several unsuccessful treatment cycles, this can help us diagnose and treat high levels of DNA fragmentation. It is also useful for men who have elevated leukocyte levels in the semen, have been exposed to toxic substances, are over 40 years of age, or have diabetes.
The SCSA (sperm chromatin structure assay) test measures the stability of the chromatin and provides an estimate of the level of DNA damage in the sperm.
Antioxidant therapy can be used to improve sperm health, or we may select the best sperm for ICSI treatment using Digital High Magnification of Sperm.
Read more about sperm DNA testing in Advanced Science...
Blocked Vas Deferens
If your vas deferens was removed during a vasectomy or if it is blocked, you may need surgery. A simpler procedure to collect sperm surgically may also be possible.
Organising semen analysis at IVFAustralia
If you are a current IVFAustralia patient, your fertility specialist will provide a request form. If you are not currently an IVFAustralia patient, you can ask your GP for a referral to IVFAustralia for a semen analysis. IVFAustralia runs semen analysis services at its clinics in Sydney, on the Central Coast, and Newcastle by appointment. Find out more about booking a semen analysis....