Why have a sperm test?
Many of our patients are suggested to have a sperm test either by their partner, another consultant or have decided of their own accord. A sperm test or semen analysis is the first step in understanding a man's fertility potential. If a couple are suffering fertility problems, have been trying for a baby for over 6 months, the female partner is over 30 or the couple are planning on undergoing fertility treatment such as IVF a sperm test is recommended. This is because a sperm test is a key indicator when considering a man's ability and likelihood of fathering a child. 50% of fertility issues like with the man and all too often the man is the last part of the puzzle to be investigated. Assessing the man early in the fertility journey can have a huge impact on the fertility of the couple as a whole. Investigating and understanding a man's fertility can save a lot of expense of failed IVF and intrusive tests on the female partner. If the results of a sperm test come back as abnormal there is a lot that can be done to improve sperm count and sperm quality. Often assessing and understanding the cause of the abnormal result and treating this can result in drastic improvements in fertility and the likelihood of a natural pregnancy.
What does a sperm test check?
A semen analysis is a test of the production of good numbers of healthy, motile sperm in the ejaculate. It looks at the number, the motility and the morphology (the shape).
A DNA fragmentation test assesses the quality of the sperm at a genetic level. The test shows the level of fragmentation of the DNA within the sperm. It has been shown that high levels of fragmentation are associated with lower fertility. Understanding the cause of high levels of fragmentation and looking to treat this can improve a man's fertility hugely.
Other tests which are routinely conducted on sperm include pH test and white cell count (infection can impact fertility).