Semen analysis is a series oftests performed to check the viability of a male sperm in case of male infertility.
Semen volume: Per WHO, normal volume of the ejaculate is between 1.5–5 ml. Low volumes could indicate a blockage or dysfunction in the seminal vesicles or prostate.
Sperm density: Sperm density or sperm concentration measures evaluates how many million sperms are present inonemilliliter of ejaculate. Per WHO, 15 million or more sperms in 1 ml of semen can be considered normal. Lower numbers may indicate oligozoospermia, a sign of male infertility.
Total sperm count: Total sperm countis the total number of spermatozoa in the entire ejaculate. By WHO, the lower reference limit (5thpercentile) is 39 million per ejaculate.
Motility: Sperm motility should be in the range of 40-50%. Low motility can indicate that there is toxin exposure such as smoking, alcohol, harmful chemicals, caffeine, hormonal problems or a varicocele (varicose veins in the scrotum).
Morphology: Morphology refers to the shape of the sperm. A low number of normally shaped sperm can decrease the chances of pregnancy.
pH: Per WHO, normal pH is 7.2-7.8.A low pH level means the semen is acidic, while a high pH level indicates it is alkaline. An abnormal pH can affect the health of the sperm and its motility.
Fructose Level: Fructose provides energy for the sperms. Absence of fructose may indicate a problem with the seminal vesicles.
Liquefaction: During ejaculation, semen is thick. It takes about 20-30 minutes before it becomes liquid. Liquefaction time measures how long it takes before it becomes liquid. If yours takes longer, or doesn’t become liquid at all, it could mean there’s a problem.
Preparing for the Semen Analysis
Here are a few things to keep in mind before giving the sample:
- Your doctor may ask you not to have sex or masturbate for 2 to 5 days before the test to make sure your sperm count will be as high as possible.
- Don’t avoid ejaculation for more than 2 weeks before your test. That can result in a sample with sperm that are less active.
- Avoid alcoholbefore your semen analysis.
- Certain medicationsor herbal supplements can affect the results. These include supplements that boost this testosterone or muscle-building steroids
For accurate results, another semen analysis may be performed within 2 to 3 weeks. This is because semen samples from the same man can vary.
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