Semen Analysis Tests
Understanding the different tests and the impact each can have on results
While evaluating male factor through semen analysis seems relatively straight forward, there are different methods to the testing procedures each can have an impact on the overall results obtained. The information below takes steps to help patients understand the differences among the testing methods and their impacts on one's final fertility outcome.
Basic Testing with Results Derived by Man vs. Computer
One of the easiest and quickest diagnostic tests done, on couples concerned with infertility, is a semen analysis. A basic semen analysis will evaluate the quantitative parameters including sperm count, concentration, motility and volume while an advanced semen analysis will also include evaluation of morphology. The process is very simple and the male partner producing a semen sample into a sterile collection device, which in turn is then sent to the lab. Once in the lab, the requested parameters are documented to determine if that specimen might be able to achieve the act of fertilization. The main parameters that are reviewed in order to determine natural ability are: concentration, motility, viscosity and morphology. Based on these results, a small window is provided into that patient’s ability of conceiving naturally. While a basic semen analysis is fairly standard across the infertility industry, there are variations that can lead to a wide range of conclusions.
One of the major differences in testing that exists is that of man vs. machine. Currently, there are several options available where by a physician or large labs can purchase a testing system known as Computer Aided Sperm Analysis (CASA). This CASA machine allows for high volume laboratories to produce a large amount of results without committing a large amount of time from their staff. Now, while this may sound good, these systems also come with some substantial drawbacks. The most notable drawback is the lack of ability by the CASA machine to decipher between sperm cells and similar sized round cells. This inability can and does lead to inaccurate results being reported to the patient. Also, the CASA machines have had problems determining accurate motility counts. The reason is due to the fact these computerized machines are incapable of determining forward motility (needed for natural conception) and general motility. It is these setbacks that has prevented these machines from overtaking the human positions still held by some of the most upstanding and successful IVF labs in the nation. These are the very reasons why the Center for Male Infertility at MCRM (CMI), utilizes a well-trained, highly qualified, laboratory andrologist to ensure that every result is accurate and timely. Additionally, this insures that our patients have the best information possible prior to moving forward with any fertility treatment.
Individual males may have their fertility potential reviewed without the prior referral of a physician or by being a current MCRM Fertility patient.
Semen analysis testing is available Monday-Friday from 7:30am-2pm*, by appointment. In many cases, appointments may be made for the next day and results available within three business days. Call 844-414-BABY to schedule an appointment or you may request an appointment and a MCRM Fertility staff member will contact you for scheduling.
(*) occasionally the availability and times of appointments may differ