Male infertility testing is an important part of making an accurate infertility diagnosis. Recent studies have shown that between 40% and 50% of infertility cases are due to male factor infertility. While there are a few male fertility problems that are visible, such as hypospadias, undescended testicles, and impotence, the majority of fertility issues in men are not obvious.
Ideally, the male should be tested first as male infertility testing is not as invasive or complicated as female infertility testing. Although there are a variety of tests that can be used to assess a man’s fertility, the most common, and perhaps important, is the semen analysis.
What is a Semen Analysis?
A semen analysis is a simple test that assesses the formation and maturity of sperm as well as how the sperm interact with the seminal fluid. To do semen analysis, a fresh semen sample (no more than a half hour old) is collected and then analyzed in a laboratory for a variety of different factors.
Men who are uncomfortable with the idea of semen collection in a clinical setting may be able to provide their sample in the comfort of their home so long as they live close to their fertility clinic. Check with your fertility clinic first, though, as many prefer that the sample be provided on-site.
Semen can also be collected using a special type of condom for those men that have troubles providing an "on demand" sample by themselves.
In order to ensure the best possible sample, and therefore get the most accurate results, it is necessary to:
- Abstain from sex for two to four days prior to the day of testing
- Use a clean, sterile container
- Avoid spilling or leaking any of the collected semen
- Avoid using a lubricant, which can kill sperm
- Keep the sample at room temperature