A semen analysis test is vital during an infertility investigation, as 10-20% of infertility is attributed to male factors alone. The assessment is performed by an experienced embryologist who will carry out a detailed analysis of the semen sample. 

The Fertility Center AKESO provides a specially designed sperm collection room aiming to make the process as comfortable as possible. It is however not unusual for men to prefer to produce the sample at home and then bring it to the clinic for analysis.

What should I know prior to sample production?

  1. The semen sample must be collected by masturbation into an individually wrapped sterile container with a wide opening, which is provided by the clinic, if the sample is produced in-house
  2. To maximize the recovery of the number and quality of spermatozoa, a 2-4 days abstinence period from any form of ejaculation is recommended
  3. It is important that the entire specimen is collected, especially the first part of the ejaculate. 
  4. In case the specimen is produced at a venue other than the Center, it must be delivered to the laboratory within half an hour. The container should be kept close to body temperature during the transport (e.g. inside a jacket pocket). 
  5. You must ensure that the lid of the container is screwed on firmly and that your name, the time and date of the collection are written on the label.

What exactly is being analyzed?

The semen analysis test includes a macroscopic and a microscopic investigation of a variety of semen parameters including:

  • Liquefaction
  • Viscosity
  • Appearance
  • Agglutination (indicating the presence of anti-sperm antibodies)
  • Volume (measured in ml)
  • Presence of cellular elements (measured in millions/ml)
  • Concentration / sperm count (measured in millions/ml)
  • Motility (percentage of motile spermatozoa)
  • Morphology (percentage of morphologically normal spermatozoa)

The reference values for the examination of the semen sample are in accordance to the World Health Organization (WHO) guidelines. Abnormalities in one or more of these parameters might compromise the ability of the sperm to fertilize the eggs.

Once the analysis is completed, a detailed report is provided with the findings and comments based on the quality of the sample in question. The following may be recorded in the report: 

  • Normozoospermia (the sample has all parameters within the normal values)
  • Oligozoospermia (the total sperm number is below the reference value)
  • Asthenozoospermia (the percentage of motile spermatozoa is below the reference value)
  • Teratozoospermia (the percentage of morphologically normal spermatozoa is below the reference value)
  • Any combination of the above is also possible
  • Azoospermia (absence of spermatozoa in the sample)

What is the Swim-up Method?

Once the analysis is completed, the sample is prepared as if being used for treatment and the test will indicate the ability of spermatozoa to fertilize an egg in vitro.

During the Swim-up method the spermatozoa are allowed to “swim” upwards into a culture medium. The medium that eventually consists of spermatozoa of the best progression, is isolated and assessed. Assessment of the final number and dynamic of the spermatozoa is a strong indicator of their fertilization ability in vitro.