What Should Your Semen Analysis Tell You?

There are many labs which run semen analysis, but for the optimal male fertility evaluation, there are certain components that should always be included to help assess a man’s fertility potential. The very basics are the pH, semen volume, concentration (number of sperm per mL of semen), count (total number of sperm in the specimen), motility (percentage of sperm with movement), forward progression (percentage of sperm swimming in a rapid, forward progressive manner), morphology (percentage of sperm with normal appearing shapes), and total motile count (the total of sperm moving in the entire specimen). These are the very basics that should be included in every semen analysis performed in an andrology laboratory.

At higher level laboratories, such as the one at Westlake IVF, assessment for other factors such as white blood cells (to evaluate the possibility of infection or inflammation which may impact sperm function), agglutination (sperm cells sticking together which may indicate an immune reaction to sperm cells), and viability (testing to see if sperm are alive) may be performed if needed. The andrology laboratory at Westlake IVF also performs much higher level functional testing on sperm cells in selective patients, such as sperm DNA fragmentation indices to assess the quality of the sperm DNA which can impact fertilization, pregnancy, and miscarriage rates.  Antisperm antibody testing can also be performed in men when there is suspicion for an immune response issue.

It is beneficial to know what the lab performing the semen analysis is testing for the optimal assessment of a man’s fertility.