A sperm analysis is done when a couple is unable to conceive to determine if there is a problem with male fertility.
The purpose of a sperm or semen analysis is to determine the quality of the sperm produced by the male partner by measuring specific sperm parameters.
If there is a problem with your sperm that may prevent conception, a sperm analysis will be able to tell you.
Once you know what the problem is, you will be able to implement a natural program, based on diet, herbal remedies and vitamins aimed to increase your sperm quality.
In some cases, conventional medications or surgery may be necessary. However, most cases of poor sperm quality are due to poor dietary habits, wrong life style choices and lack of important vitamins and minerals. For all these cases, specific fertility vitamins can certainly help improve sperm quality.
Poor sperm quality affects about 1/3 of infertile couples and it is becoming a frequent infertility factor that affects more and more men.
Do not postpone having your sperm checked as this will delay your ability to conceive a baby.
A typical sperm analysis measures the following sperm parameters:
The volume measures the amount of sperm present in one ejaculation. The volume of your semen should be between 2-6 ml per ejaculation.
A low sperm volume indicates infertility due to poor production of the seminal fluids. Men that smoke, drink alcohol, coffee or do not drink enough water may have low sperm volume that can be easily corrected through diet and life style changes.
Semen volume keeps the sperm alive in the female reproductive tract. If the volume of the sperm is too low, the sperm may die out faster and may not be able to reach the fallopian tubes where fertilization should occur.
When the sperm is first released, it is thick like a gel. Within twenty minutes, it becomes liquid. The liquefaction time measures the amount of time it takes for the sperm sample to become liquid.
The sperm liquefaction time should be around 20-30 minutes in order to be normal. If it takes longer, it may indicate an infection that needs to be treated before conception can take place.
The sperm count measures the number of sperm present in your sperm sample. A normal sperm count is of about 40-60 million per milliliter of ejaculate. If your sperm count is lower than 20 million per milliliter of ejaculate, you may have low sperm count causing male infertility.
It is possible to perform a sperm test at home in order to determine if you have more than 20 million. This is very easy to do and very inexpensive. All you need to do is to purchase a sperm test kit and do the test at home. Many prefer this option before doing a more in depth sperm analysis.
The shape of your sperm is very important as abnormal sperm shape leads to infertility.
To be considered typical, your sperm analysis should report that 70% of the sperm sample has normal shape and structure.
Abnormal sperm is the main cause of birth defects, miscarriages and infertility. An abnormal sperm sample my present spermatozoa that have two tails or two heads, a very small head or a round head rather than an oval shaped one.
If the sperm is abnormal, fertilization cannot occur because the sperm is unable to penetrate the egg or cannot swim properly. It is important to point out that most sperm samples have a percentage of abnormal sperm and that having abnormal sperm does not prevent you from fathering a healthy child.
The Kruger strict morphology test is performed to establish the degree of abnormality in the semen. If your sperm sample scored over 14%, you are fertile. If the score is between 5-14%, you have lowered fertility and if it is less than 4% you are most likely infertile.
Your sperm needs to be able to move fast in a forward direction in order to reach the egg and fertilize it. Not all your sperm will have this ability. The higher the number of "good swimmers" in your sperm sample, the greater your fertility.
In a sperm analysis test, sperm motility is the measure of the percentage of sperm that can move forward normally and effectively. Your sperm analysis result should show that at least 50% of the sperm sample has optimal forward motility.
Forward motion is rated on a scale from 0, where no-motility is noticed to 4, where there is rapid forward sperm motion with strong tail movements.
If your sperm analysis test reveals that you have poor sperm motility, improving sperm motility is best achieved through diet, herbal remedies and mineral and vitamin supplementation.
If the pH is high, the sperm sample is alkaline. If the pH is low, the sperm sample is acidic.
It is important to have a pH that is slightly alkaline to buffer the acidic environment of the vagina. Spermatozoa don't survive long in an acidic environment.
A normal sperm sample should have a pH from 7.2 to 8.0. Low sperm pH may indicate a problem with the seminal vesicles.
The seminal veiscles produce the seminal fluid together with the prostate gland. The seminal fluid postion secreated by the seminal vesicles is alkaline. If the ejaculate is acidic, there could be a problem with the ejaculatory duct.
Higher pH levels indicates a possible infection from chlamydia, prostatitis, or other pathogens.
Your sperm analysis should result negative against the presence of white blood cells (WBC). If bacteria or white blood cells are detected, it may indicate inflammation or that an infection is present.
Fructose content in the sperm sample is related to the production of energy necessary for the sperm vitality. The fructose test is done when the sperm count is very low to determine if there is a blockage (obstructive azoospermia) that prevents the sperm from coming through or if the sperm is not produced at all (non-obstructive azoospermia).
When the sperm count is low, your doctor may want to know if the sperm may be ejaculated backwards into the bladder. If this is the case, you may suffer from retrograde ejaculation. You may be asked to provide a urine sample right after a sperm sample to check for sperm presence in your urine.
If the sperm agglutinates or clumps together, you may suffer from infertility. Agglutination makes the journey toward the egg very slow and difficult. If the sperm get stuck together in clusters rather than swimming alone, they may have difficulty swimming through the female cervical mucus to reach the fallopian tubes, where fertilization takes place.
The presence of sperm agglutination may indicate either bacterial infection or sperm antibodies. To have a normal sperm sample, the sperm analysis should have detected less that 5% agglutination.
Vitamin C has been studied for its ability to decrease sperm agglutination. Vitamin C protects the sperm from oxidative damage, preventing the sperm from sticking together. 1,000 mg of Vitamin c a day is the recommended dosage.
Anti-sperm antibodies are often detected during additional sperm analysis. If this is the case, you will have difficulty fertilizing the egg because the sperm will not be able to reach the egg easily.
Anti-sperm antibodies indicate that your immune system has begun attacking your own sperm cells. This phenomenon is rare and may occur as a result of injury or surgery to the testicles.
Your doctor will recommend and a semen analysis if:
1. You have not been able to conceive after actively trying for one year.
2. You had a vasectomy reversal and want to know if it was successful.
3. You had varicocele surgery and want to know if your sperm quality has improved. It is advised to wait at least 6 weeks before testing your semen after a varicocele repair surgery.
4. You had surgery to unblock the epididymis duct due to blockage.
In order to have an accurate test your doctor will ask you to avoid having sex or ejaculating 2-5 days before the test. This step is very important because it helps ensure that your sperm count will be at your normal high.
It is important to have sex or ejaculate at least 5 days before the test to make sure the sperm sample is fresh.
A long period of sexual inactivity may cause an increase in old sperm or inactive sperm with poor motility. You should not wait longer than 5 days as this can cause inaccurate results.
Make sure to avoid smoking and drinking before the test as they can cause poor sperm count and increase the percentage of abnormal sperm.
If you are taking any medications, including supplements or herbal medicine, tell your doctor as these may alter the sperm analysis results.
There are medical conditions that may affect sperm count like varicocele (enlargement of the veins in the scrotum of the testis), radiation, or orchitis (testicles inflammation).
Your medical history is very important when assessing male infertility because certain diseases can cause atrophy of the testicles. Men who had mums may suffer from poor sperm quality or even azoospermia (zero sperm count).
Depending on the results of your sperm analysis, your doctor may recommend additional testing. For example, if you have low sperm count or high numbers of abnormal sperm, your doctor may recommend hormonal testing to check your testosterone, luteinizing hormone (LH), follicle stimulating hormone (FSH), and prolactin levels.
In very rare cases when the sperm count is almost zero (azoospermia) and the motility is very low, your doctor will decide to do a testicular biopsy to determine what the cause is.
Many factors may affect the health of your sperm. In order to make sure your sperm analysis is as accurate as possible consider avoiding the following:
If your sperm analysis has reported that your sperm quality is poor, there is a lot you can do through dietary supplementation to improve your situation.
It is possible to improve sperm count naturally by supplementing your diet with specific nutrients that help increase sperm count, sperm motility, and help balance testosterone levels.
Infertility in male patients can be helped and it will take a few months as the body needs at least 3-4 to produce sperm cells to be able to get a woman pregnant.
Learn more here.
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