What is semen analysis
While a positive post-coital test
result will indicate that the sperm count is normal, an analysis of the
semen itself is the most basic test that can be carried out on your husband.
How is the test carried out
A semen sample will be collected by asking your husband to masturbate directly into a special sterile container. There is no point trying to collect a sample by withdrawal at intercourse as some of the initial part of the ejaculate is lost. Transferring a sample from a condom does not help either as most sheaths these days contain a potent spermicide. Some specialists recommend that you abstain from intercourse for a few days before the sample is collected. However, others feel that it is better to follow your normal pattern of intercourse. The semen sample should be kept warm and should be delivered to the laboratory for testing within one hour of production. After the sample volume has been measured, the following calculations are carried out.
A normal semen analysis will show:
If your husband's semen analysis
falls short of the figures given above, it does not imply that a pregnancy
will be unlikely. Different samples from your husband will show different
results. This is why a reduced semen analysis will always be checked with
1 or 2 repeat tests. Changes in his general health 10 weeks before the
collection of the sample can affect the sperm count and motility. . For
example, if he has had an illness like 'flu, it can reduce both the count
and motility in a sample produced 10 weeks later, as this is the time taken
for sperm to reach maturity. A repeat sample tested after an additional
2-3 months could very well be normal.
What will the results of the semen analysis tell me
If your husband has a good quality
semen sample with a count of 10 million per ml and your own fertility is
normal, then statistically it will take up to 6 years for you to become
pregnant. If this count is 20 million per ml and of good quality it will
take up to 3 years, and at 30 million per ml a pregnancy should occur within
a year. But keep in mind that these are generalizations that cannot be
blindly applied to every couple. The quality of the semen is always more
important than the quantity of sperm per ml.
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