What is a sperm test?

What is a sperm test?

A sperm test is an analysis of the number and motility level of the sperm in the ejaculate. A sperm test can also be called a semen analysis. This test looks at the production of good numbers of healthy, motile sperm. It is the single more important indicator when assessing male fertility. A sperm test is often performed in conjunction with a DNA fragmentation test which looks at the sperm in a bit more detail - at a genetic level and gives a deeper understanding of the quality of the sperm. Find out more about DNA fragmentation tests in our last blog here.

Generally, Fertility Solutions recommends a sperm test to anyone who has been trying for a baby for more than 6 months, if the female partner is over 30 or if you are considering IVF. A sperm test by Fertility Solutions will be conducted to WHO standards and show the following:

  • Sperm count - the number of sperm in the ejaculate
  • Sperm motility - the sperm should be moving and moving relatively quickly
  • Sperm morphology - the shape of the sperm (which is important for fertilisation)
  • pH check
  • White blood cells

Below are two videos from under the microscope - one showing poor quality, slow moving sperm and the second showing healthy, motile sperm.

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.


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