If you have been trying to conceive with no luck, you have come to the right place! This post will explain what is a semen analysis and when you should consider getting one done!
Many couples deal with infertility when trying to conceive. However, most couples assume it is only the female that deals with issues of getting pregnant. The truth is male infertility accounts for 30% of the issues. But to put that in perspective, the woman can account for 30% and the other 40% of issues is a combination of both partners. So if the woman has been cleared medically and there is no other known issues, this is the point when a semen analysis should be preformed. The good news is, there are options for both partners if either is having any reproductive issues. I have seen many questions over the years regarding semen analysis and what is involved so let’s take a look.
What Is A Semen Analysis
Let’s first be clear and define what is a semen analysis. Semen is the fluid in which the sperm travels. The analysis is the testing of the viability and the health of the sperm. When these tests are preformed, a sample will need to be collected in order to perform the test (yes, there will be ejaculation involved!). This tests looks at: morphology, motility, volume, viscosity/fluidity/liquefaction, pH, count, and white blood cell count (there are other factors depending on the test, but this is general).
I have heard “oh, my man has a pretty high sperm count, so he is fine in that department!” The truth is, what good is all that sperm if they can’t even travel? Not to be funny, but count is a only one factor, but if none of them are good….um, well that is a problem. There are home tests that allow for you to check the sperm count. I am not discrediting those tests because it is important to know, but you do want to know that the sperm he has can actually meet the egg. So this is why the analysis can be help identify if there is in fact a problem.
The morphology identifies the amount of sperm that have normal or abnormal shape. The standard of normalcy will depend on the lab, but according to the World Health Organization, the cutoff is 4%. When morphology is below this percentage, pregnancy is harder to achieve or at least a viable pregnancy.
This test is done to see how many sperm can move forward. Sperm can move, but that doesn’t mean that they are going anywhere. They could just be there wiggling. Not to make light of the situation, but we learn a lot of things when trying to conceive. I personally just assumed, sperm knew what they were doing. Well, that is not the case. Some sperm have progressive motility (ability to meet the egg), non progressive (just wiggle), and non motile (they come out and just stay there). The percentage of what is normal also depends on the lab, but a general rule is that you want at least 40% motility.
If motility is below 40%, there are a couple of supplements that I would recommend to help improve. The first is ProXeed Plus. This product costs $240.98 (for 2 boxes) and has the ingredients and antioxidants needed to increase motility, count, and overall reproductive health in men. It is rated 4.4 out of 5 stars on Amazon and 72% of consumers give it 5 stars! The second product is Motility Boost.
Motility Boost is specifically designed to increase motility percentage by providing an array of antioxidants like CoQ10, arginine, and vitamin B12. All of which can help prevent free radical damage to the sperm and increase sperm health and it costs $19.95 for a one month supply. Some consumers purchase these supplements together. Keep in mind that supplements should be taken for at least three months to receive the benefits of them.
Volume is looking at how much is present when a man ejaculates. I don’t think I need to explain that. You can probably get the picture. A general average is 1.5mL.
Sperm Liquefaction/Viscosity is the time it takes the sperm to become fluid. This is interesting to me. When semen is ejaculated, it is like a gel substance that adheres to the cervix. The gel is to make it stick to the cervix. After this is done, it has a certain time to become liquid/fluid to allow the sperm to swim through to meet the egg. This process should normally take 20-30 minutes for it to become liquid. It is important because the uterus only contracts for several minutes to propel the sperm up to start the process of meeting the egg. So yes! Orgasms can be beneficial when trying to conceive!
pH is the acidity of the sperm. I spoke briefly about sperm being able to survive up to five days in the right environment. Well the right environment is the pH level, but that doesn’t just affect the vaginal fluid. A high pH in sperm can indicate an infection or a low pH can indicate a blockage. Both of which can make pregnancy harder to achieve. Again, a general standard is that pH is 7.2-8.0, but that too will depend on the testing standards of the lab.
Count is just that. It is the number of sperm per milliliter and an average standard is greater than 15,000,000mL per ejaculation. If your count is low, Fairhaven Health also provides a supplement called CountBoost for Men. CountBoost costs $19.95 and can be taken in conjunction with the other supplements mentioned earlier.
White Blood Cells
Depending on the amount of white blood cells in sperm, it can weaken the sperm by damaging it and making conception impossible. During a test, you want to see less than 1,000,000mL per seminal fluid.
So you see, there are a lot of things involved in sperm. There are simple ways to test at home, like using the Trak Male Fertility Testing System. This test costs $149.99 and can give you your sperm count and let you know if your sperm is low, optimal, or moderate. You can also purchase the SpermCheck Fertility Home Sperm Test that also gives you account for $39.99. However, this test considers a normal sperm count of 20,000,000mL. If there are sperm deficiencies, there are supplements like FertilAid For Men that can be used to help improve motility and morphology. But the best way to know everything, is to consult your physician!
In the meantime, there are things you can do and avoid to preserve your sperm health:
- Eat a balanced diet and/or take a multivitamin
- Quit or cut down smoking (everything)
- Cut down or cut out alcohol
- Avoid soaking in hot tubs and/or hot baths
- Change your underwear! Seriously, if you wear briefs switch to boxers to keep the testicles cool and avoid wearing a Speedo: