Posted October 2, 2022 by Anusha ‐ 3 min read
A semen analysis looks at the volume and quality of a man’s sperm. It is one of the first steps to detect male fertility issues. The test also shows whether a vasectomy was successful. Semen analysis involves collecting a semen sample and evaluating it in a lab.
What is a Semen Analysis?
A semen analysis is a lab test that examines a sample of semen under a microscope. It evaluates things such as sperm count, activity (motility) and shape (morphology).
Who needs a Semen Analysis?
Reasons you may need a semen analysis include:
Male infertility: If a couple has been having difficulty trying to conceive, there may be a semen abnormality. In some cases, it’s due to an issue with a man’s sperm. A semen analysis evaluates the likelihood that a man can cause a pregnancy.
Vasectomy follow-up: A semen analysis determines whether a vasectomy was successful. This procedure blocks the tubes that deposit sperm in semen. If there are no sperm in the semen, the vasectomy worked, and a man cannot get a woman pregnant.
How does a Semen Analysis work?
A man masturbates to produce a semen sample.
This is the preferred method because it provides a clean sample.
Since sperm counts vary from day to day, you may need to provide more than one sample spaced out a few weeks apart.
Healthcare providers use research-based methods to handle and test the semen.
Going to a lab that specializes in semen analysis ensures you receive accurate results.
This includes labs that:
Are part of a fertility clinic.
Perform a high volume of semen analyses.
What does the Analysis look at?
A post-vasectomy semen analysis checks to see whether the semen contains sperm.
Normal results would show no sperm or very few non-moving sperm.
Abnormal results would contain moving sperm or high numbers of non-moving sperm.
When used as a fertility test in men, it looks at:
pH level: Whether semen is too acidic, which can affect sperm health.
Semen volume: Amount of semen in the sample (in millimeters).
Sperm concentration: Number of sperm per millimeter of semen.
Sperm morphology: Size and shape of the sperm.
Sperm motility: Ability of the sperm to swim toward an egg.
Time to liquefaction: How quickly semen changes from a sticky substance to a liquid.
Vitality: Percent of live sperm in the sample.
White blood cells: A sign of infection or inflammation.
What do results look like for post-vasectomy Semen Analysis?
After a vasectomy, it can take several weeks for semen to become sperm-free (azoospermia) or have very few non-moving sperm. You should use backup birth control, like condoms, until you have a test with the desired result.
What do results look like for male fertility testing?
The lab compares the characteristics of your semen to expected values. Your semen should contain:
Active sperm, each with a single round head and tail.
A certain number of sperm.
Have a pH that’s not too acidic.
Fluid that turns to liquid in a short amount of time so it can travel through a woman’s reproductive system.