Conventional semen analysis includes the determination of sperm count, semen volume, sperm motility (qualitative and quantitative), viscosity, liquefaction time, and sperm morphology. Sperm are viewed under the microscope for motility and morphology. In addition to sperm count, sperm morphology and motility may have the most predictive utility. Infertility can be associated with low counts or sperm of abnormal morphology or decreased motility. A low sperm count should be confirmed by submitting two additional, appropriately collected semen specimens for evaluation. The usefulness of conventional semen analysis parameters as predictors of fertility is somewhat limited. Therefore, alternative tests based on more functional aspects (sperm penetration, capacitation, acrosome reaction) have been developed. Flow cytometry-based Sperm Chromatin Structure Assay (SCSA) can provide an assessment of DNA integrity as another parameter of sperm quality. Post-vasectomy specimens are evaluated for presence or absence of sperm only.
Semen analysis is used to evaluate infertility, as a follow-up to post-vasectomy study, and to diagnose azoospermia and oligospermia.
The patient should not have had a fever within the past 3 days. Unless otherwise instructed by physician, patients should refrain from ejaculation for 3 days prior to collection. Semen collection does have specific collection specifics, timing limitations and transport requirements. Patients should be instructed to deliver specimen to laboratory within 30-60 minutes after collection and maintain warmth during transport. Additional tests may include Testosterone Total and Free, Cystic Fibrosis (R117H mutation with Intron 8 poly T polymorphism for CBAVD), blood lead, sperm mucus, and sperm penetration testing.
Reference ranges and specimen collection vary from test method and laboratories performing this test. To properly evaluate your test results, consult with the ordering physician or healthcare provider. If you would like to learn more about testing for Semen Analysis click here for further information or you can research one of the references listed below.
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Int J Androl. 2002;25:306. [PMID:-12270029]
Semin Reprod Med. 2009 Mar;27(2):115-23. [PMID:-19247913]
Adv Clin Chem. 2005;40:317. [PMID:-16355926]
Gynecol Obstet Invest. 2005;59:86. [PMID:-15572878]
Jacobs DS and DeMott WR. Laboratory Test Handbook. 5th. Hudson, OH. Lexi-Comp, Inc (2001).