What does a sperm test show?
We often get asked this by our patients, a sperm test or semen analysis as it is also know, is a test of the numbers of good quality sperm and is the single most important indictor when considering a man’s ability and likelihood of fathering a child. But a sperm test does actually test for a few other factors as well.
A sperm test will show:
- Sperm count - the number of sperm per millilitre of semen
- Sperm motility - your sperm need to be swimming quickly
- Sperm morphology - it is important that sperm are the right shape
- Mar testing - this looks for antibodies which can cause sperm to stick together
- White blood cells - this is a marker of infection and infection will affect fertility
- PH - this assesses obstruction and infection
All these factors influence fertility and help us to build the picture around your fertility and understand what is going on. Whilst there are other tests which help to give even more detail such as a DNA fragmentation test a sperm test is a good place to start.
When should you have a sperm test?
We would recommend a sperm test to anyone trying for a baby if you have been trying for more than 6 months or if the female partner is over 30 years old (female age impacts fertility). We would also recommend having a sperm test before starting IVF of fertility treatment (read more about that here).
Traditionally, male partners were often overlooked and discounted when it came to assessing fertility of a couple. Assessing the couple as a whole can often have a hugely positive impact on fertility. When investigating why a sperm test result is abnormal and working with an expert team to correct the abnormal result will often result in drastic improvements in male fertility and for the couple therefore increasing the likelihood of a successful pregnancy.
It can be worrying to have an abnormal sperm test result but there is a lot that can be done to improve this. Firstly, ascertaining why it is abnormal is key. Whether this is infection, blockage or something else then working to treat this can completely change the subsequent sperm test outcome. We work with world renowned fertility urologist – Mr Jonathan Ramsay who is leading the field in male fertility.
If you have questions about sperm tests or other male fertility investigations please do get in touch.