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What Can I Learn From a Semen Analysis?

The quality and quantity of a man’s semen and the sperm within it has a major effect on whether or not a couple can conceive. At the California Center for Reproductive Health, one of the first steps in your fertility workup is a semen analysis of the male partner.

Information gleaned from a semen analysis

This test is ordered because it provides our experts with a lot of important information. Here’s just some of what they (and you) can learn from a semen analysis:

  • Ejaculate volume: to determine if a man produces enough semen during ejaculation
  • Sperm concentration: to determine if there is a high concentration of sperm in the semen
  • Sperm vitality: to determine the percentage of live sperm in a sample
  • Motility: to evaluate the ability of sperm to swim toward an egg
  • Morphology: to analyze the size and shape of sperm
  • pH: to determine if semen is too acidic and negatively affects fertility

Ideally, you have active sperm that each have a single round head and tail.

Semen analysis also looks at how quickly semen changes from a sticky substance to a liquid. You want your semen to turn to liquid quickly so it travels readily through the female’s reproductive tract.

If there are an abnormally high number of white blood cells in the semen sample, it could indicate an infection or inflammation that affect the ability to conceive.

Other more rare and complex issues that arise with the sperm and can be detected through advanced analysis include the presence of antisperm antibodies, abnormal sperm DNA issues, and a central hormone balance.

The process of providing a sample

A man usually masterbates to produce a sample. You’ll go to a private, comfortable room and ejaculate into a sterile container. This is the cleanest way for us to obtain a sample. You may be asked to provide more than one sample spaced out days or weeks apart because sperm counts can change from day to day.

Refrain from sexual activity for 2-7 days prior to your scheduled test. This helps ensure your sperm counts are at their highest level and that we get a good picture of semen quality.

Evaluating the results of your semen analysis

If you have abnormal results, it means you have a below-average chance of conceiving with your partner. Following semen analysis, our doctors may do additional tests to look for blockages that prevent the body from releasing sperm into the semen.

They’ll also look for infection or low testosterone levels. Your semen analysis results may also be affected by certain medications or medical conditions.

Your sperm quality may also be impacted by your use of tobacco, alcohol, illicit drugs, or some herbal medications or supplements. If these factors are affecting your sperm count, you probably don’t have a problem with your fertility. We can help you make necessary lifestyle changes to promote sperm health.

Being unable to conceive is frustrating and disheartening. The team at the California Center for Reproductive Health know this, and we do everything possible to help you understand why you’re having trouble growing your family so they can offer state-of-the-art solutions.

Call one of our offices in Encino, Valencia, Alhambra, or West Hollywood, California, to set up an appointment. Alternatively, reach out via this website.