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Semel Labarotary

 

The semen analysis is the single most important test in the evaluation of a man's fertility. It provides information about a number of issues related to male fertility. Semen quality and quantity may impact the ability of sperm to successfully fertilize the egg. Sperm motility appears to be one of the most important factors in determining the fertilizing capability of sperm. Even with a low sperm count, many men with highly motile sperm may still be fertile

A semen analysis is the study of a freshly ejaculated semen sample. This analysis measures the number of sperm present in the ejaculate (sperm count) and checks the shape and size (morphology) of sperm and their motility. The semen analysis is not an absolute test for fertility because it does not test certain important aspects of sperm function, such as whether sperm can actually penetrate the egg; however, it is very useful in initially determining if the cause of infertility is an obvious male factor.

Semen testing is performed using a fresh semen specimen within 2 hours of collection. The specimen is obtained through masturbation and is collected in a container provided by the physician. Semen for this analysis should not be obtained by interrupted intercourse or by use of an ordinary condom. Ordinary condoms contain substances that are toxic to sperm. If religious or personal practices prohibit masturbation or if the patient feels uncomfortable, the physician may suggest using a special condom designed for specimen collection that does not damage sperm. Feeling anxious about producing a specimen is common. Any questions or concerns should be discussed with a physician.

The information gathered during the semen analysis depends on proper collection of the specimen, as well as the skill of the technician or physician performing the test. Before testing, a standard period of sexual abstinence is recommended. Often, this is 2 to 3 days or the "usual" number of days between intercourse for the couple. This helps the physician obtain an idea of what the normal seminal fluid exposure is for the female partner. Because sperm counts and quality can vary, at least two or three samples will usually be obtained to establish a baseline. Evaluation of semen is based on standards established for fertile males. When a patient has values below these limits, a male factor does not necessarily exist, but the probability is significantly increased. It is important to remember that, despite an overall low sperm count, men with high-quality sperm may still be fertile. High quality sperm is defined as having a high percentage of motile sperm with good forward movement. Sperm motility appears to be one of the most important factors in determining the fertilizing capability of sperm.

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