A semen analysis is a standard step in any infertility workup when the reason for trouble conceiving isn’t clearly evident. It’s even a good idea when the woman has a known fertility issue; a semen analysis sheds light on whether male factor infertility will complicate future assisted reproductive technology like in vitro fertilization (IVF).
Here at the California Center for Reproductive Health, our team makes getting a semen analysis as simple and comfortable as possible.
Here’s how the procedure can help your fertility journey.
What answers can a semen analysis provide?
In up to 40% of cases, male factor infertility contributes to a couples’ trouble conceiving. Oftentimes, this is because a man has abnormalities in sperm number or function – making it that much harder to fertilize an egg.
A semen analysis looks at several different factors that could impact fertility. These include:
Semen volume and concentration
If a man doesn’t ejaculate enough semen, it reduces the likelihood of conception.Even if a man has enough semen, sperm analysis looks at the number of sperm per milliliter of semen to ensure there are enough to make pregnancy a viable option.
During semen analysis, we look to see if the sperm are of a normal size and shape
Healthy sperm have the ability to swim toward an egg. Immobile or slow sperm have less of a chance of creating a pregnancy.
We want to see if the sperm in a man’s semen are actually alive.
If a man’s semen is overly acidic, it can impair sperm health.
Time to liquefaction
The time it takes sperm to change from a sticky substance to one that is more fluid impacts conception. The liquefaction process helps sperm gain their motility and ability to get to a woman’s Fallopian tubes.
White blood cell presence
If a man’s sperm has a higher-than-normal amount of white blood cells, it could be a sign of inflammation or infection, which could impede fertility.
What is involved in semen analysis?
Prior to your appointment, we ask that you refrain from intercourse or masturbation for 2-7 days. This ensures your semen has an accurate sperm sample.
When you come to our office, you’re sent to a private, comfortable room to masturbate and provide the resulting semen sample. It’s then sent to a laboratory for analysis.
What do the results mean?
The results of your semen analysis helps us create your customized infertility treatment plan. Abnormal results mean you have a less-than-average chance of getting a woman pregnant.
In some cases, you may need to make lifestyle changes like quitting smoking, avoiding excessive alcohol use, improving your intake of antioxidant-rich foods, and losing weight. If your hormones seem to be a factor in your male factor infertility, you may also benefit from hormonal treatments.
More severe issues with your semen may require in vitro fertilization or intracytoplasmic sperm injection.
Ultimately, our goal is to help you and your partner conceive and go on to have a healthy pregnancy. Call one of our offices in Encino, Alhambra, Valencia, or West Hollywood if you’re ready to explore your fertility options.