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Sperm Test

Sperm Test for Fertility

A sperm test is usually the first step in determining if there is a male fertility problem. Testing for men initially involves a detailed assessment of your medical history and a semen analysis, or sperm test.  Testing for a male infertility problem is much simpler and straight forward than the tests women undertake.

Semen Analysis

The most important test for male fertility is a semen analysis, which is performed at our andrology laboratory.

Semen analysis, also called a ‘sperm count’ is usually performed on a sample collected in a private room at our fertility or at home.  If a sample is produced at home, we will give you a sterile container for the sample collection.  The semen will need to be kept at room temperature and brought into the clinic within one hour.

The test gives a measurement of the

  • Number of sperms present in the semen,
  • movement (motility),
  • size and shape of the sperm, and
  • the volume of the ejaculation.

The semen will also be tested for the presence of antibodies – produced by the immune system – which may cause the sperm to clump or lose their progressive motion.

A normal sperm count is at least 15 million sperm per ml, with at least half showing good forward motility. You only have to have 4% normal sperm to be classified in the “normal” range.

Samples may be characterised as potentially fertile, sub-fertile or infertile.

There can be a number of issues that we may find with sperm including:

  • Azoospermia- an absence of any sperm in the semen
  • Oligospermia- low numbers of sperm in the semen
  • Sperm antibodies
  • Low motility
  • Minimal numbers of normal sperm.

Sperm have a lifecycle of 72 days, so even if your results indicate that there may be problems with your sperm, you may be able to improve this with simple diet and lifestyle changes.  A slightly abnormal sperm analysis does not mean that a person is permanently infertile. Instead, we can use the results as a tool to help identify what factors are causing fertility issues.

Sperm Chromatin Structure Assay (SCSA) 

The DNA in the sperm are extremely important for fertility. Fertilisation, embryo development and the chance of an ongoing pregnancy are all related to sperm DNA integrity.

Frequently, our male patients will also have a Sperm Chromatin Structure Assay (SCSA) performed on their semen. It detects damaged DNA in sperm, known as DNA fragmentation.

Is there a solution to damaged DNA in sperm?

Everyone’s situation is unique, but there are effective treatment strategies to minimise the effect of sperm DNA damage, such as using testicular and not ejaculate sperm.

So, don’t be deterred from undergoing testing.  I can offer treatment options to improve male fertility and increase the chances of successful pregnancy.

Ask your GP for a referral to Dr Michael Flynn - print this Referral Request and hand it to your GP.

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