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Semen Analysis

As a part of standard infertility work up, sperm parameters should be tested with a semen analysis. Sperm analysis should be done after 2-3 days of abstinence and not more than 10 days. If any of the parameter(s) is abnormal, it should be repeated for confirmation of that abnormal parameter(s) and in the absence of sperm (azoospermia) or with poor semen parameters urological evaluation is recommended.

Semen analysis provides quantitative information about the sperm and consists of four basic parameters. These include the volume, count (concentration), motility (active moving ability) and morphology (appearance of sperm).

Normal semen parameters are as follows:

Volume: At least 1.5 cc or more
Count: 15 million per cc or greater
Motility: 40% or greater should be moving forward
Morphology: 4% or greater should look normal

Semen analysis does not provide information about the function of the sperm, but rather a basic understanding of its production and activity. In some men with normal semen analysis, quality of the sperm may still be compromised. Although there is no perfect test to assess the quality of the sperm, a recently developed test called the sperm DNA integrity assay (SDIA) or sperm chromatin structure assay (SCSA) has been used to diagnose cases of unidentified male infertility with a normal semen analysis.

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