It is advisable that a man and woman attend together, as a couple, to the doctor´s visit. Usually, when there are fertility problems in a couple, the woman is the first one to proceed to submit herself to analysis. However, a semen analysis must be a priority.
The way we eat nowadays, in addition to the environmental conditions, have provoked a reduction in the sperm count of men. The exposition to estrogen in food and the chemical products in the composition of the plastics used in the food chain, seem to be the main factors.
We use to have more knowledge in the past over feminine fertifility than masculine fertility, however, today hospitals treat the problem in the same manner with respect to men and women. Moreover, the possibilities that the treatment in men to be effective has increased and the possibility of being a father in a natural manner offers good expectations.
It must be clarified that masculine infertility is not related with virility. The impossibility of inseminating the ovule is not a reason to believe that your partner is not an excellent lover. But on the contrary, sometimes when a man is not able to make love, does not mean it lacks a fertile and viable sperm.
Semen under observation
In order for a sperm to successfully inseminate a feminine ovule, it must be adequately formed. It will have a tail to be able to swim and reach the ovule, and a head with a hat where the enzymes are stored, which role is very important in the process.
The semen analysis is one of the first tests a man carries out with fertility problems. Generally, two samples are analyzed since the sperm encounter varies according to certain circumstances. The number of sperms is counted, how they move and their form.
Many specialists believe that a counting of sperm relatively low may not affect the fertility in men. But a sperm count under a combination with many malformed sperms, with seldom movement, or with a high level of leukocytes, increases the possibility of affecting fertility.
The analysis: taking of samples
- Refrain from having sexual relationships during three days.
- Masturbate to obtain a sample and keep it in a sterile container.
- The container with the sample must bear the name, date and time.
- Protect the sample at extreme temperatures.
- Deliver the sample as soon as possible to the lab.
The analysis: considered healthy
- Amount: 2-5 ml (one half to one spoonfull).
- Number: More than 20 million of sperms per ml.
- Motility: More than half have mobility.
- Normality: More than one third of the sperms are normal.
- Leukocytes: Less than one million per ml of sperms.
Types of recounts
There are several types of recounts. A semen analysis determines which one of the following concepts apply to a specific sperm sample.
- Teratospermia. A high number of abnormal sperms. If men have more than 70% in such condition, it is considered serious, probably due to a chromosome problem or an environmental cause.
- Azoospermia. The semen does not contain sperms due to the lack of production, because of an obstruction affecting its transportation, or ibecause it is not able to ejaculate.
- Estenospermia. The recount is correct and normal, but the sperms fail to move.
- Oligospermia. Less than 20 million of sperms are found per ml of semen. From 10 to 20 million, it is considered a minor case; from 5 to 10 million is a moderate case; when there are less than 5 million, it is a serious case.
Secondary analysis of the sperm function
In a second stage, microscopic analysis are made of the sperm function in a couple. Such analysis examine the sperm capacity to penetrate in the mucus, pass through the uterine collar and reach the Fallopian tubes and, of course, the ovule.
Other study is focused to verify the recognition of the ovule by the sperm and its adherence to the latter, as the first step for the insemination (achromosomic analysis). Finally, its capacity to penetrate the ovule (hamster test) merge with it and inseminate it.
Test of the sperm achromosome
One sperm has a head tied up with a cover called achromosome. Enzymes are deposited therein that help the sperm to penetrate the external membrane of the ovule. If the sperm lacks this achromosome cover, insemination cannot take place.
The tests analyze the sperms with chemical products, that shine when they react with the achromosome.
Observing the ovule penetration
There are other analysis that observe the capacity the sperm has to penetrate the ovule. The test consists in introducing sperms into ovules taken from hamsters, and measure how they penetrate and merge into them.
The purpose of using these small animals in the lab tests is to refrain any woman to submit her to an unnecessary stress, and she should not go through a hormonal treatment to provide ovules for the test.
It must be mentioned that there is no risk an embryo may result from the merger of the sperm and these ovules in the lab.