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Semen Analysis testing to evaluate your fertility

Monday, June 18th, 2018

Traditionally, the healthcare response to a couple with infertility has been for the female partner to visit a gynecologist for evaluation but you should know that Infertility is related to the male in 40-50% of cases. Male infertility can be affected by multiple factors, which are readily tested by semen analysis that also known as a sperm count test.

A semen analysis measures 5 major parts of sperm health:

-Sperm Shape: A normal result for sperm shape is that more than 50 percent of sperm are normally shaped. If a man has greater than 50 percent of sperm that are abnormally shaped, this reduces his fertility. A laboratory may identify abnormalities in the sperm’s head, midsection, or tail. It’s also possible the sperm could be immature and therefore not able to effectively fertilize an egg.

-Sperm count: The sperm count in a normal semen analysis should be between 20 million to more than 200 million. This result is also known as sperm density. If this number is low, conceiving can be more difficult.

- Sperm movement: For a normal result, more than 50 percent of sperm must move normally an hour after ejaculation. Normal sperm samples have at least 20 million moving sperm. If the sperm count is between 10-20 million, intrauterine inseminations may be helpful.  If there are less than 10 million moving sperm, in vitro fertilization (IVF) is recommended.

-The volume of semen: For a normal result should be greater than 2 milliliters. A low semen volume could indicate a low amount of sperm to fertilize an egg.

- Semen PH:  It is a measurement of how acidic or alkaline the semen is. The seminal vesicle fluid should be more alkaline, while the prostate fluids should be more acidic. In combination, they balance each other out in the semen. A pH level should be between 7.2 and 7.8 to achieve a normal result.

 Abnormal results could indicate the following:

- infertility.

- infection.

- hormonal imbalance.

-  disease, such as diabetes.

- gene defects.

If your results come back at abnormal levels, your doctor will probably suggest that you take additional tests. These tests include:

-Genetic tests

-Hormone testing

-Urinalysis after ejaculation

- Taking a tissue sample from your testicles

- Anti-sperm immune cells testing

Be sure to review the results with your doctor to determine if there is a problem and what can be done to treat it. Don’t be afraid to ask questions. Understanding a diagnosis is important to success.