This test is used to evaluate male fertility, the ability to reproduce. Also called a sperm count, it’s used to measure the amount and quality of seminal fluid (ejaculate). The seminal fluid contains male reproductive cells (sperm) and is normally is expelled through the penis during ejaculation.
Seminal fluid can affect factors such as sperm shape, function, and movement, so the entire ejaculate is examined.
Semen analysis also can be used to help diagnose Klinefelter’s syndrome, which is the most common inherited cause of testosterone deficiency.
To prepare for the semen analysis, ejaculation should be avoided for 2-3 days. The sample can be collected in a sterile container through masturbation or through sexual intercourse, using a special type of condom provided by the physician.
Three different semen samples are recommended to account for factors that can affect results, such as variations in temperature and laboratory errors.
Semen analysis includes the following factors:
- Volume (total amount of ejaculate)
- Standard semen fluid test, thickness, color, acidity
- Sperm shape and structure; associated with sperm health
- Percentage of sperm that show forward movement; mobility
- Total number of moving sperm