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Infertility semen analysis

There is an information booklet for patients: Infertility Semen Analysis, which can be found in the related downloads section on the front page of our website.

A semen analysis is usually advised if a couple is having difficulty conceiving (becoming pregnant). Primary infertility is an extremely common problem, affecting more than one in seven couples attempting their first pregnancy. Among those experiencing difficulty with conception, a male fertility problem is considered important in around 40 per cent of couples.

The sample will be analysed according to the World Health OrganIsation (WHO) standards for volume, pH, concentration, motility, viability and morphology.

Results are sent to the referring doctor within 5 working days of the semen analysis. 

Requirements

Sexual abstinence should be between 2 and 7 days (3 or 4 days is best). The semen sample must be obtained by masturbation (manual stimulation) and should be collected directly into the specimen container provided by Andrology. The whole specimen must be collected. The specimen should then be placed in the provided biohazard bag. The specimen should be brought directly to Andrology by the patient within an hour of it being passed.

The specimen container must be adequately labelled with the patient's full name and date of birth/ hospital number and the date and time the specimen was collected. The information on the specimen container must correspond with the data given on the request card.

Ensure that male name, date of birth, partner's name, referring consultant/GP, referring department/GP practice & hospital number are recorded on the request card.

Factors that may affect semen analysis results

Some plastics are toxic to sperm so specimen containers must be obtained from Andrology as these have been tested for toxicity.

Extremes of temperature can damage sperm so the sample should be kept at body temperature whilst being transported to the laboratory, for example by carrying it in an inside pocket.

A condom and/or artificial lubrication must not be used for semen collection, as it will kill the sperm.

Motility of sperm can decline over time so it is important that the semen sample is examined within an hour of it being produced.

The sperm are in the first part of the ejacualate so the whole of the specimen should be collected.

The number of days of sexual abstinence can affect the quality of sperm. Abstinence should be between 2 and 7 days (3 or 4 days is best)  for semen analysis.

Viscous specimens or specimens where there is sperm agglutination can affect semen analysis results.