Semen Analysis (Spermiogram)

Semen Analysis is to evaluate the fluid and content ejaculated from penis for volume and quality. This test both analysis the fluid portion which is called semen and the moving cells which are called sperms and seen only under a microscope.

It is the most important and initially asked laboratory testing in evaluation of fertility potential in men.
Semen is viscous and off-white fluid that contains the sperms and other fluids secreted by various glands. It is highly viscous immediately after ejaculation then becomes fluidal afterwards within 10-30 minutes. Sperms are moving reproductive cells which are composed of a head and tail. The sperms enter the body of the female, move toward and fuse with the ovum, which is called fertilization.
Each semen sample contains millions of sperms; different amounts of fructose; buffer fluids; coagulation agents; lubricants; and enzymes to support sperms and aid fertilization.  

Also in semen analysis, semen sample can be washed to get information for planning a treatment method. This test is performed following a 3-5-day sexual abstinence to get important information about what treatment method would give the better outcomes.  

A typical semen analysis measures the following parameters:

  • Volume and viscosity of semen
  • Sperm concentration (density)
  • Total number of sperms
  • Sperm motility (percentage of moving sperms and the way the sperms move)
  • Number of Normal and non-normal (damaged) sperms
  • Coagulation and liquefaction
  • Fructose (a type of sugar in semen), pH (acidity)
  • Number of immature sperms
  • Leucocytes (white blood cells) ,number of infected cells

How to collect sperm for testing?

It is preferable to collect a semen sample at the center just before analyzing since it must be analyzed within an hour. Semen is collected in a private room reserved for this procedure. By masturbating the person collects his semen sample in a special container.

You’ll need to refrain from ejaculation for 2 to 5 days prior to testing in order to obtain optimum sperm count.   

Please follow the instructions carefully.

Where to use this test?

Semen analysis is a test used to determine the fertility potential of a man. Semen analysis evaluates a number of parameters for semen and sperms. A semen analysis should be evaluated with at least two samples taken 2-3 weeks apart because the number of sperms and density of semen can vary day by day and some conditions are likely to affect sperm levels.

When is a test required?

Semen analysis is required when a clinician considers that a couple or an individual has a problem with fertility. At least 10-20% of couples have difficulty in having a child. If the infertility arises from the male, a semen analysis will be required to determine what inhibits fertility and applicability of assisted reproduction techniques to achieve pregnancy. If the semen analysis gives abnormal outcomes, the test is repeated in a certain time decided by the doctor.

What do test results mean?

The volume of collected semen is approximately 2-6 milliliters. The volume of semen less than this indicates the scarcity of total number of sperms which affects fertility. The volume of sperm greater than this indicates a higher amount of fluid which reduces sperm concentration. Semen needs to be viscous when first collected then becomes fluidal within 10-30 minutes. If this is not the case, motility of sperms is restricted.

Concentration (count)

Sperm concentration is highly important for being able to fertilize the ovum. A sperm concentration less or greater than particular levels might indicate a fertility problem.
It is therefore an important parameter evaluated with spermiogram. Sperm concentration is number of millions of sperms in one milliliter of semen. In a normal concentration, 20 millions and over per milliliter in one ejaculation and total number of sperms is 40 millions and over.  

Motility (mobility)

Motility is the percentage of moving sperms in one sample and indicates the direction and rate of their move. Motility of sperms is also important for being able to fertilize the ovum because only moving sperms can go down the female genital tracts and fertilize the ovum.

At least 50% of sperms should be able to move and swiftly travel on a straight line in an hour after ejaculation. The move of the sperm is classified from 0 (immotile) to 4, and 3 and 4 represent good motility.

Morphology  (form and appearance)

Another important factor for fertilization capacity is form of the sperm and whether any structural deformations are present. It is not possible for a deformed sperm to fertilize the ovum.

Morphology parameter indicates the form of the sperm and analyzes the size, form and appearance of sperms. To evaluate this parameter, 200 sperms are analyzed and the deformed ones are noted. Morphological evaluation is performed by Kruger’s criteria at our center. The greater number of abnormal sperms, the less the likelihood of fertility is. Abnormal form includes anomaly of head, neck and tail, and immature forms.

Vitality  (liveliness)

It is a test to see vitality of sperms in semen. This test involves eosin staining and is applied on persons with less than 50% of sperms moving. So, it is evaluated whether immotile sperms are alive. This test is also called as sperm life test.

Peroxidase staining test (leukocyte testing)

There are other cells in semen in addition to sperms. Leukocytes (white cell count) are routinely evaluated in a semen analysis since they can be a predictor of an existing or previous infection. With this test called “Leucoscreen”, particular information can be obtained by number of leukocytes in semen. Normally, the number of leukocytes should be less than 1 million per ml in semen.  

Semen acid-base balance (pH)

pH of semen is measured by a specific paper of which color is changed by pH. pH of normal semen gives an alkali value between 7.2 and 7.8. While a prostatic secretion is acidic, a seminal vesicle is alkali. The value of pH can be affected by a problem with one or more glands. pH value might not have major effects on infertility potential in men.

In evaluation of fertility in men, each parameter of semen analysis is evaluated separately and as a whole. Each parameter of semen analysis affects fertility; however the outcomes might not present the final results. Individuals with poor results of semen analysis could have children whereas individuals with better results could experience difficulties.    

Sperm Washing

The semen is washed with specific solutions and cleared of seminal plasma, dead sperms and other cells to improve quality. Sperm concentration and motility is improved after this process thus healthier sperms are achieved. So, one can get an idea for treatment method in male infertility.

Sperm washing process is applied in all semen analysis at our center.

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The information on this website is not intended to replace any medical advice given by physicians with access to your detailed medical history.