A semen analysis (also known as seminal fluid analysis) consists of a series of tests that evaluate the quality and quantity of the sperm and the environment they reside in which is the semen.
Why the Test is Performed
A semen analysis is performed when a doctor thinks that a man or couple might have a fertility problem. It is also necessary to evaluate the feasibility of using assisted reproductive technology (ART) to facilitate pregnancy. A semen analysis is also typically ordered following a vasectomy to confirm success of the procedure and repeated as necessary until sperm are no longer present in the semen sample.
How the Test is Performed
A semen analysis to determine fertility should be performed on a minimum of two samples at least seven days apart over a period of two to three months.
Sperm count and semen consistency can vary from day to day, and some conditions can temporarily affect sperm motility and numbers. When a semen analysis shows abnormal findings, the test is repeated at intervals as determined by the doctor.
How to Prepare For the Test
You may have to avoid sex or anything that can cause you to ejaculate 24 to 48 hours before the test.
Several factors can affect the sperm count or other semen analysis values and should be avoided prior to the test. They include use of alcohol, tobacco, caffeine, many recreational and prescription drugs (e.g. cimetidine), and some herbal medicines.
During the Test
You might be given visual aids to enable ejaculation into the sample container. Some men may feel uneasy but your privacy will be assured in any fertility clinic.
After the Test
Your doctor will discuss the results with you at a later appointment.
There is no risk