Common Questions

When should a semen analysis be performed?

When a couple is trying to conceive and is unable to do so, the semen analysis should be one of the very first things done to identify causes of infertility.

The reasons why include:

  • Less complex and expensive than female diagnostic procedures
  • Male infertility accounts for or contributes to at least 40% of all infertility cases
  • Problems with sperm are undetectable through any other means
  • Problems with sperm cannot be made up for by enhancing female fertility
  • Problems with sperm are very correctable through a number of assisted reproductive techniques

What is semen?

Semen is composed of sperm, sugars, salts and secretions produced by the prostate gland, seminal vesicles and other accessory glands.

Immature sperm are produced continuously in the testes and mature in the epididymis, a series of coiled tubules on the outer part of the testes. This maturation process takes about two to three months.

Prior to ejaculation, mature sperm travel up the vas deferens (the tube from the epididymis) to the prostate gland, where they mix with fluid from the prostate gland, seminal vesicles and other accessory glands before being propelled down the urethra during ejaculation.

How can I increase my sperm count?

Sperm count and motility can be affected by many variables, including length of abstinence, nutrition, stress, amount of sleep, drugs, alcohol and illness.

The most important step you can take to maximise your sperm count is to abstain from ejaculating for three days before each appointment. If you abstain from ejaculating for fewer than two days before your visit, your sperm count may be reduced.

Between two to five days of abstinence is optimal, but abstinence of more than five days is counterproductive as there is likely to be an accumulation of aging and dead sperm in the ejaculate.

Should I get more than one semen analysis?

If one semen analysis produces results below the normal range, we would suggest having one or two more semen analyses to get an accurate evaluation of your fertility potential.

You may want to schedule these repeat analyses about three months apart to permit spermatogenesis (sperm production) to produce new sperm.

If results are consistently abnormal, talk to your doctor about a referral to a Genea Fertility Specialist.

Can I collect samples at home?

As soon as you ejaculate, the sperm in your ejaculate begins to deteriorate.

We recommend that patients produce their samples in one of our private rooms at Genea Andrology so you do not have to be concerned with transporting the sample to the lab.

However, if this is uncomfortable or inconvenient for you it may be acceptable for you to collect the specimen at another location and deliver it to the laboratory.

In order to do this you must follow these guidelines:

  1. You must use a sterile, dry plastic specimen container (Genea Andrology can provide you with a container. Please drop-in or request one to be sent to you)
  2. Make sure you collect the entire ejaculate in the container
  3. Make sure that there’s no water or soap in the container and don't use lubricant of any kind while masturbating, as water, soap, and lubricant can all kill sperm
  4. Seal the container and don’t expose it to bright light or extreme temperatures
  5. Transport the sample close to your body (so it will remain at body temperature) and deliver it to our lab as soon as possible after ejaculation (must be less than an hour). Consider traffic and travel distance prior to collecting
  6. Please make sure you have an appointment scheduled for the semen analysis even if you're providing your sample off-site
  7. When you arrive let the receptionist know that you have a sample to drop off and you will be directed to the specimen drop-off window. The lab will be prepared to perform the analysis immediately

Can I freeze sperm?

Absolutely, sperm can and are regularly frozen. Read more about freezing sperm.

What is semen?
How can I increase my sperm count?
Should I get more than one semen analysis?
Can I collect samples at home?
Can I freeze sperm?