Semen analysis (SA)

Semen analysis (also known as "sperm count test" or "male fertility test") is an evaluation of a person's sperm and semen. This test determines the quality and the quantity of sperm, including key factors that will play a direct role in the fertilization of the egg such as motility (movement), concentration (density), and morphology (size and shape).

What is a semen analysis?

A semen analysis (SA) — also known as “sperm count” or “male fertility test” — is a test of the sperm and semen. These tests are incredibly common, not only with patients struggling to conceive or diagnosed with infertility, but with patients who want to maximize their chances of future reproduction.

A semen analysis helps determine the quality and quantity of sperm, and evaluate key factors in fertilization, including sperm motility (movement), sperm concentration (how many sperm), and morphology (shape and structure of sperm). This test provides patients with a picture of their own fertility, and identifies any issues they may be experiencing.

A healthy sperm count is typically 15 million sperm per mL of semen. In addition to that, over 40% of those sperm should be active (i.e have good motility). Lastly, a semen analysis will also analyze sperm morphology; over 4% of sperm should be the proper size and shape for good fertility.

Semen analysis and male fertility

Semen analysis is the cornerstone test for male infertility. Those experiencing infertility will typically turn to a semen analysis (SA) to gain a better understanding of the causes. As SA evaluates motility, morphology, concentration, and volume, it can allow fertility specialists to diagnose the root cause behind the patient’s infertility. Indeed, a semen analysis often serves as the first step towards treating male infertility and outlining an appropriate treatment method.

A guide to semen analysis

A semen analysis requires a semen sample, produced via masturbation in a doctor’s office or from the comfort of your own home. Traditionally, semen analysis was conducted by a urologist or in a fertility clinic, before being analyzed in the andrology lab. However, at-home sperm testing kits now offer a complete analysis of sperm without the need to visit a specialist. 

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