Author Name: Dr. Dibyajyoti Goswami Mentor Name: Dr. Rinoy Sreedharan on April 08, 2020

What Is Semen Analysis?

Sperms are the male gametes that are produced in the testis of male and semen acts as their vehicle in their journey towards female genital tract. Hence, having normal seminogram in terms of all parameters is essential for good reproductive potential for males. It has been ob-served that in 30% of infertile couples, solely male factor is the cause. Hence if you are having difficulty in conceiving, then your doctor might advice you to go for a semen analysis. It is a sin-gle test with several parameters that can assess the health of your sperms and your capacity to bear a child at large.

When to Get It Done?

If you have been trying to conceive for 1 year and have not succeeded, in such cases you should consider your semen be tested along with a detailed list of tests for your female partner. A sin-gle semen analysis might offer a significant clue to the root cause of your infertility. The male partner is asked to ejaculate into a special wide mouthed sterile container for obtaining the sample.

What Is Actually Evaluated In This test?

Generally semen should be tested after an abstinence period of minimum 2 days to maximum 7 days. The expert who performs this test is called an Andrologist. It is highly recommended that he/she follows the WHO criteria for semen analysis. The andrologist will examine your semen to assess the following parameters:
• Volume of semen:
Normal semen volume of a single ejaculate should be at least 1.5 ml.
• Sperm Count:
Sperm count means the number of sperms present in your semen. 1 ml of semen should contain at least 15 million sperms. A concentration less than that is called Oligozoospermia.
• Colour:
A normal semen sample appears opalescent grey. Any deviation from this to red or yel-low may indicate presence of blood, infection etc.
• pH:
Normal pH for semen is around 7.2. A higher or lower pH indicates infection or contam-ination respectively.
• Morphology:
This refers to the form, shape and size of the sperm. A normal sperm has got an oval shaped head, a neck or middle piece and a single tail. To produce a good embryo all these parts must bear a perfect shape. In a normal semen sample at least 4% of sperms must bear normal morphology. If the value is less than that then the condition is called Teratozoospermia.
• Motility:
Motility indicates what proportion of sperms in your semen can move. A man with nor-mal reproductive potential should have at least 40% motile sperms. A value less than that, is called Asthenozoospermia. This is a very important parameter as only motile sperms could complete the journey to fertilize an ovum.

What to Do If Your Semen Analysis Report Is Abnormal?

If your semen analysis report comes abnormal it is always prudent to take advice from your fer-tility expert. Remember that a slight deviation from normal values does not mean that natural conception is impossible for you. In certain cases you might need to go through some further investigations like physical examination, some blood tests like FSH or Testosterone level etc to plan for next line of treatment. Fortunately, now a broad spectrum of treatment modalities are available ranging from Intra Uterine Insemination (IUI) to extraction of sperm from testis fol-lowed by Intractyoplasmic Sperm Injection (ICSI).
However, I would like to advice you some tips to keep your semen healthy:
• Quit smoking as smoking can cause severe reduction in sperm count, motility and mor-phology. Besides it results in increased DNA damage in sperm chromosomes leading to production of genetically abnormal sperms.
• Limit your alcohol consumption as excessive alcohol intake could result in abnormal se-men parameters.
• Adopt a healthy diet containing more fruits, vegetables and plenty of water.
• Try to practice physical exercise like swimming, running, walking etc for at least 1 hour a day.
• Avoid wearing tight underwear and use your laptop keeping it on a table rather than on your lap.
• You may start taking some vitamins like vitamin C and Vitamin E along with extra sup-plement of zinc, selenium etc. These nutritional supplements improve sperm function.

Take home message:

• Don’t hesitate to get your semen checked if you are facing fertility issues.
• Do not worry if your semen analysis report comes abnormal. Consult a Fertility Specialist who can definitely find a solution to your problem and help you achieve parenthood.

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