What is the semen analysis test? What is sperm analysis test?
The semen analysis test (also known as sperm analysis test) evaluates male fertility through a set of tests. Fertility clinics or specific laboratories perform this test.
Why do you perform a semen analysis test?
The semen analysis test assesses the quality and quantity of a man’s semen and sperm. Doctors often perform it as part of a fertility evaluation to help diagnose male factor infertility.
How do I prepare for a sperm test?
- Men should abstain from sex for 3-5 days. Longer abstinence can result in poor quality sperms with low motility and survival. Shorter periods of abstinence can lead to low sperm counts on the testing.
- The man should also avoid using any products that may affect the quality of the sample, such as lubricants, creams, or oils.
- It is also important for the man to follow any specific instructions provided by the healthcare provider or laboratory.
- Collect and transport the semen sample to the laboratory as soon as possible after ejaculation to ensure the best possible results.
- Maintain the sample at a temperature near normal body temperature before analysis.
- Semen samples are collected in a sterile wide-mouthed cup provided by the clinic or the laboratory.
How do you collect a semen sample?
To collect a semen sample, the most common method is through masturbation. The man needs to masturbate and ejaculate into a sterile container.
Another way to collect a semen sample is through intercourse with a special condom. Place the condom on the penis before ejaculation, and collect the sample immediately after ejaculation. Do not use regular commercial condoms for this purpose as they may have lubricants or spermicidal compounds that can give incorrect results.
In certain cases, surgical procedures may be necessary to retrieve sperm. These procedures include electroejaculation, testicular sperm extraction (TESE), or microsurgical epididymal sperm aspiration (MESA).
How is sperm analysis performed?
A trained laboratory technician performs semen analysis. The sample is allowed to liquify for about 30 minutes. The technician will observe the color, odor, and viscosity of the sample. Next, the technician examines the sample under a special polarized light microscope or uses an automated analyzer. They will perform sperm counts and evaluate sperm motility and morphology. They also note the presence of debris, bacteria, and inflammatory cells. Moreover, they can test the sperms for viability, which measures the number of sperms that are alive in the sample.
What is a normal semen analysis test results?
A normal semen analysis test must show sperm counts above 15 million sperms per mL and a motility of greater than 40%. Over 4% of sperms in the sample should have a normal morphology (structural appearance).
What are the common abnormalities seen in the semen analysis test?
A semen analysis test may show low counts, low sperm motility or poor morphology. The significance of these results are explained in our article on male factor fertility.
How accurate are sperm analysis tests?
Semen analysis tests depend on many factors such as pre-analytical considerations, considerations with the test (analytical considerations) and post analytical considerations. Some issues that may influence accuracy include:
- Duration of sexual abstinence- The ideal period for abstinence is 3-5 days. Prolonged abstinence will result in abnormalities in motility and morphology. Too short an abstinence would result in low counts.
- Completeness of samples and sample spillage- Its important to inform the clinic or the laboratory if the sample collection was incomplete during ejaculation. Incomplete samples would result to wrong estimates and results
- Training of the andrology technician- Semen analysis is a specialized test. There can be inter observer variation. A trained technologist must use a standardized technique to prevent such variations. Honesty and integrity is important when humans report test results.
- To ensure correct analysis, use a polarized light microscope, automated analyzers, and calibrated heating blocks. Many of these instruments are expensive and laboratories may not always have them available.
- Reporting results as per the current standards- Semen analysis reports must be as per the latest WHO standards.
Can a sperm analysis test be done at home?
You can now self-test at home using FDA-approved screening tests like the Yo Sperm test. It includes instructions for collection and analysis with a smartphone-compatible device. These tests cost about Rs 3,500-8,000 and are used for screening purposes.
Another option for couples is collecting samples at home using a special condom. Remember to bring the sample to the laboratory within 30 minutes of collection.
Tests on sperm density in water do not work and have no scientific basis. Consult a fertility specialist if you want to explore options of home based testing.
What is the cost of the semen analysis test in Bangalore?
The cost of semen analysis test in Bangalore ranges from Rs. 350 to Rs. 2500. The average cost of a good quality test is about Rs. 900 to Rs. 1500. Tests within IVF centers done by specialists and using automated instruments or computer assisted semen analysis (CASA) are more expensive. Such tests tend to be more accurate.