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How Semen Analysis Can Help with Fertility Treatment

By Vicken Sahakian, M.D. on December 30, 2016

Semen and sperm under a microscopeHere at Pacific Fertility Center, we take great care when considering the needs of our patients. We know that starting a family can be stressful. The primary goal at our Los Angeles fertility treatment practice is to increase your chances of having a child by using state-of-the-art technology and advanced techniques in medicine.

When we assess potential male factor infertility, our first step is semen analysis. Let's take a moment to consider what this is and why it is so important.

What Is Semen Analysis?

Semen analysis refers to a professional assessment and study of a man's semen. This is performed by fertility specialists to determine where or not a man is fertile, if he has viable sperm to achieve pregnancy, or if there are health concerns that reduce a man's fertility.

Why Semen Analysis Is Important

Semen analysis is crucial in that it can pinpoint a cause or a few causes of male factor infertility. For instance, a semen analysis can measure the volume of a man's semen, the amount of sperm in the semen, and even the chemical makeup of the semen itself.

There are so many factors and issues that could lead to a man experiencing fertility problems, which is why semen analysis is such an important part of any fertility treatment, from in vitro fertilization (IVF) to intrauterine insemination (IUI).

Semen Analysis to Assess the Sperm

There are usually three important factors when assessing the health and condition of a man's sperm:

  • Sperm Count – Sperm count refers to the amount of sperm present in a man's semen. In most cases, there should be 20 million to 200 million sperm present in a man's semen. Low sperm count (oligospermia) makes it much more difficult to conceive a child. In some cases, there may be a total absence of viable sperm (azoospermia).

  • Sperm Motility – Sperm motility refers to the ability for a man's sperm to move and swim properly. If a man's sperm shows poor ability to swim or a slow movement speed, the chances of successfully conceiving a child are much lower.

  • Sperm Morphology (Shape) – Sperm morphology refers to the shape of a man's sperm. When a man's sperm exhibits abnormal tail lengths, abnormal head sizes, multiple tails, and other issues, this can affect motility as well a overall viability.

Additional Concerns in Semen Analysis

In addition to considering the sperm, fertility specialists will also consider these issue regarding the semen itself:

  • pH of the Semen – The pH of a man's semen can result in an unhealthy environment for sperm. Higher or lower pH than normal could suggest a blockage of some kind or an infection that needs to be treated.

  • Semen Volume – Some men may produce less semen than normal when they ejaculate. Even with a healthy sperm count, a lower volume of semen can result in a reduced chance of successful pregnancy.

  • Semen Consistency – Semen is often thick upon ejaculation but it eventually liquefies to help the sperm with movement. If a man's sperm does not liquefy after 15 to 30 minutes, this can have an impact on his fertility.

Moving Forward with Male Infertility Treatment

Once semen analysis has been performed, a fertility specialist can move forward with the right treatment for a patient. This could mean IUI or IVF, or potentially considering assistance from a sperm donor. We can discuss all treatment options available in much greater detail during the consultation process.

Contact Pacific Fertility Center

For more information about treating male infertility and how we can help you start a happy family, be sure to contact our team of experienced fertility specialists today. The entire team at Pacific Fertility Center is here to help.

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