Approximately 50 percent of the time, men infertility issues are to blame for the delay in conception among the couples. For this reason, doctors and fertility specialists usually encourage men to have them checked to determine if they are the ones having a problem. While this makes the men quite uncomfortable – especially because they think that only women have infertility – it is imperative that you heed the advice of your doctor.
Semen analysis is one of the tests conducted by health practitioners to analyse the state of a man’s fertility. At the time of the test, the man is required to ejaculate into a cup. An ejaculate is achieved in either of three ways; masturbation, sex with a condom or the withdrawal method or an electricity-stimulated ejaculation.
The specimen is then examined by lab technicians for the following parameters:
- Sperm count
- Sperm concentration
- Sperm morphology and
- Sperm motility
Sperm concentration is used to measure the number of sperms per millilitre of a man’s ejaculate. The lower reference limit is estimated at 15 million/millilitre. Sperm motility entails the evaluation of the nature of the sperm’s movement, and the lower reference limit is 40 percent. Sperm morphology is aimed at determining the number of sperm with a normal shape. The lower reference limit, in this case, is 4 percent normal. On the other hand, the semen volume is a measure of the amount of semen per ejaculation, and the lower reference is 1.5 millilitres.
If cases of abnormalities are found, the doctor may instruct a repeat of the test to help in the identification of the degree, the type, as well as the persistence of the problem. Semen analyses usually differ. It all boils down to what has been happening in your life before the submission of the semen sample. Factors such as stress, fever, illness or intense exercise may impact the results of this test.
Preparing for semen analysis
Your doctor will have a lengthy discussion with you to help you prepare adequately for the test. It is imperative that you follow your doctor’s instructions to increase the accuracy of the results. Some of the things that you need to know include:
- Do not ejaculate 24 to 72 hours before the semen analysis
- Two to five days before the day of the test, do not consume caffeine, alcohol and recreational drugs such as marijuana and cocaine
- Halt consumption of any herbal medications (even though this will depend on your doctor’s instructions)
- If you have been taking any hormone medications, your doctor will advise you on when to stop depending on the date of the semen analysis.
That said, it is imperative that you let your doctor know all the medications you have been taking. Do not hide anything from him as doing so may lead to the production of incorrect results. Note that semen analysis is one of the most important tests for determining a man’s fertility. As such, patients are advised to give it their best by following the guidelines provided by their physicians to the latter.