Approximately 1 in 6 couples have difficulty in conceiving and in almost 40% of these cases it may be due to sperm-related issues. Sperm problems can range from the complete absence of sperm, to having low numbers or poor quality in terms of motility and morphology. Sperm morphology describes the shape of the sperm. Currently, the only reliable method for detecting sperm related problems is by a semen analysis, which entails examination of the semen under the microscope. The results of the semen analysis tests will indicate whether or not a male factor is involved and so aid decisions about appropriate treatment. However, this is not an absolute method to rule out the involvement of male factor since a routine semen analysis may not detect subtle male factor, involving genetic and chromosomal abnormalities that are not apparent under microscopic examination. The results of a routine semen analysis will, however, help us decide whether or not treatment is necessary or what type of treatment is needed to achieve pregnancy.
While a single semen analysis can provide some information about the quality of your semen it is advisable to have 2-3 semen analyses to come to a more definitive conclusion. This may neither be always necessary nor feasible given your particular circumstances. The decision in this regard will be made by your doctor.
Semen analysis testing is by appointment only. Call our office at (248) 619-3100 to make an appointment. Semen analyses are administered Monday through Friday from 9:30 AM to 1:30 PM. Remember to mention all the tests written on the doctor’s order when making your appointment.
Semen collection can be done at home or at RMA. If home collection is preferred, RMA will provide a sterile specimen collection container. An abstinence period of 2-7 days is required for semen analyses. Masturbation is the most accurate method of collection. However, if collection by masturbation is not feasible the only other approved method of collection is by using a Male Factor Pak condom. This can be purchased at RMA for $11. The only acceptable lubrication is mineral oil. The lab will provide you with a vial if it is needed.
For at home collection, the specimen must arrive at RMA within one hour of collection. The specimen is to be kept warm by body heat only. This can be accomplished by storing in a pocket or shirt. Temperatures below 70°F and above 98°F can jeopardize specimen quality, which could result in an inaccurate semen analysis interpretation. Note: An appointment is still required.
Upon arrival at RMA, you will be asked to complete paperwork with all details about your demographics and billing information. We require that you or your partner retain the custody of the semen sample from the time of collection until the time of delivery to a lab staff. RMA fully complies with HIPPA regulations and none of your personal information will be released to anyone other than the prescribing doctor without your consent. You are also required to disclose any medication you are currently taking.
Semen analysis results are called into or mailed directly to your ordering doctor’s office in five business days.
Tests for semen quality may suggest underlying disease conditions that may be indirectly causing infertility. We will guide you to a specialty consultation appropriate to your diagnosis. For example, you may need a consultation with an Urologist.
Since the values of a semen analysis can undergo significant day-to-day or month- to- month variations in terms of its quality, we occasionally recommend a repeat of your semen analysis especially if it was incompletely or improperly collected or handled. This ensures a more definitive diagnosis and determines the most cost-effective treatment option available for you and your partner.
If a Post-ejaculate Urine test is ordered, use the bathroom 1-2 hours before your appointment then drink some fluids. An adequate amount of urine must be collected to flush any semen out of the bladder. Your physician may require you to take sodium bicarbonate 24-48 hours prior to sample collection.
RMA retains a highly trained and qualified staff to carry out all aspects of semen analysis and ensures confidentiality. If you have any questions on the quality and nature of your services you may call Mark Dow, PhD, HCLD., Laboratory Director at (248) 619-3100.