Semen Analysis

According to the WHO, infertility is defined as failure to conceive after 12 months or more of regular unprotected sexual intercourse. It affects 8-12% of cases worldwide. Out of which approximately 40-50% is due to male factor infertility. 2% of all men will exhibit suboptimal semen parameters. The traditional semen analysis is the established cornerstone of assessing male fertility.

 

Parameters assessed during semen analysis in testing semen quality

The various parameters assessed during semen analysis are:

  • Macroscopic liquefaction
  • Appearance
  • Viscosity
  • Volume
  • Ph
  • Microscopic motility
  • Concentration
  • Morphology
  • Vitality

All the macroscopic parameters in semen analysis, denote the functional capacity of the necessary male organs namely seminal vesicles, prostate and whether or if the whole tract from testes to the urethra is patent.

 

Microscopic parameters of semen during semen analysis

Motility

Motility is indicative of a decrease in the functional competence of spermatozoa and is directly related to the quality of the spermatozoa. According to the WHO, it is graded into 3 categories, progressive, non-progressive and non-motile.

Concentration

It is the oldest parameter reported to be investigated during a semen analysis. It depends on a variety of factors; the volume of the testes, the period of sexual abstinence prior to ejaculation, the size of epididymal sperm reserve as well as the extent of ductal patency.

Morphology

It provides vital information on the semen quality and has been considered on essential parameters when establishing the fertility status of a patient.  A number of sperm tests of varying complexity have been received like automated computer image semen analysis. Sperm DNA fragmentation can test the genetic constitution of the sperm while other tests assessing human sperms – egg interaction are of uncertain value.

 

Factors affecting semen quality

  • High temperature can cause decreased sperm count.
  • Obesity
  • Alcohol
  • Smoking
  • Marijuana
  • Stress
  • Chemicals like pesticides

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