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Male infertility | Semen analysis

Male Infertility, Semen Analysis

The cornerstone evaluation for male infertility is the semen analysis. This is one of the most important fertility tests because male infertility is present in up to 40% of couples. Certainly, no treatment of the female partner should be initiated until her partner has had a semen analysis and male infertility has been ruled out. Where possible, the semen analysis should be conducted by a reproductive medicine laboratory. These laboratories employ andrologists who have extensive experience identifying subtle sperm abnormalities causing male infertility. Instructions for Semen Collection and Processing


We prefer that patients provide the sample for semen analysis and/or cryopreservation on Monday-Thursday before 1:00 pm. Patients must give us at least 24 Hours notice when scheduling an appointment. We do not accept semen analysis on Fridays or Holidays. We prefer that the sample be collected on site and we have a collection room next to the Andrology laboratory.

*We recommend no more than 3 days of abstinence before collecting the sample.

*Samples for IUI/ICSI/IVF are provided on the day of the procedure, but please schedule 24 hrs in advance. We highly recommend not more than 3 days of abstinence prior to sperm collection.

*We will provide a sterile collection container.

*If semen collection cannot be accomplished by masturbation, a special condom will be provided at additional cost.

*We prefer that the sample be collected at our laboratory, but when this is not possible, home collection is possible under strict guidelines.

Factors Influencing the Semen Sample

1) The semen sample should be collected by masturbation after 2-3 days of abstinence. Long periods of abstinence may decrease the motility (sperm movement) and shorter periods may decrease the volume and quantity of sperm produced. Avoid using lubricants including saliva.
2) Certain drugs, and exposure to some substances, may affect the semen analysis and therefore contribute to male factor infertility.
3) The following may significantly affect several sperm count parameters.

Drugs Possibly Contributing to Male Infertility

– Cimetidine
– Nitrofurantoin
– Anabolic steroids
– Narcotics
– Previous Chemotherapy
– Heat
– Prolonged hot tub use
– Welders
– Truck drivers who have long trips

– Marijuana and tobacco have been implicated in abnormalities effecting sperm motility and shape. Alcohol use has also been shown to affect sperm count increasing the chance for male infertility.

The Semen Analysis Visit

*Please inform us if you are on any medications, vitamins, or herbal supplements.

*If you are prescribed an antibiotic, please complete your antibiotic regimen prior to collecting your semen specimen.

*Please fill out the “Andrology Laboratory Requisition Form” and complete all other forms attached.

*After collection, close the lid of the container tightly.

*If collecting at home, place the specimen container into the bag and deliver it to the laboratory preferably within one hour of collection. Ensure that the specimen is transported at body temperature or lower.

*The sample should be brought to the laboratory with the completed “Chain of Custody Form” provided by the receptionist.

*Never leave the specimen unattended. It has to be given directly to the laboratory personnel. The sample will not be processed unless this rule has been followed.

*If we diagnose male infertility ,failing to find any motile sperm cells in the ejaculate, you will be referred to a urologist for further work up. The urologist will perform numerous tests to assess the reason(s) for semen abnormalities.

Severe Sperm Abnormalities

With ICSI it is possible to father a child with as few as one sperm in the ejaculate. When no sperm are present, they can often be collected directly from the testicle or reproductive tract. Once the sperm is collected it is injected directly into the egg using ICSI as a part of the IVF procedure. Couples can also choose to use a sperm donor.

Sperm Freezing and Storage

Fertilite offers freezing and long-term storage of sperm. Many men freeze sperm prior to a vasectomy in case their circumstances change in the future. Men who may have future chemotherapy or are at high risk for male infertility, or those in the active armed forces, also frequently freeze sperm. Please call our office for more information.

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