Getting a sperm analysis test is important. In case the report comes back normal, it’s very reassuring for the patient; this test doesn’t have to be repeated either. If the analysis shows up as normal, the doctors won’t really have to examine the man at all as that check will then be superfluous. 

Reasons for poor test results

The one thing to keep in mind here is that even if the sperm motility and count are in the normal range, it doesn’t really mean that the man is fertile.  Motile sperm aren’t necessarily “working” sperm and it’s not certain that they will be able to fertilize the eggs. The only way we would be able to check whether the sperm work, is by doing IVF. There are times when the sperm test results don’t come out right. This could happen in case:

  • The sperm has been collected incorrectly
  • The container is dirty
  • Too much of a delay between providing the sample and its testing in the laboratory
  • Too short an interval since the previous ejaculation
  • Recent systemic illness in the last 3 months (even a flu or a fever can temporarily depress sperm counts)

If the sperm test shows up as abnormal, it will have to be repeated 3-4 times over a period of 3-6 months. This has to be done to confirm whether the abnormality is persistent or not. It’s also important that we don’t jump to conclusions on the basis of one report. Keep in mind that sperm counts can also vary on their own.

Range of other tests

It takes the testes 6 weeks to produce new sperm; this is why you have to wait before you take the next test. It’s best to get the analysis done at another just to ensure that the report is valid. There are a number of other sperm function tests available such as:

  • Antisperm Antibodies Test
  • Semen Culture Test
  • Postcoital Test (PCT)
  • Bovine Cervical Mucus Test
  • Sperm Viability or Sperm Survival Test
  • Sperm DNA fragmentation tests
  • Sperm Chromatin Structure Assay Test
  • Sperm FISH tests

Many of these are expensive tests, which provide information of very little clinical use.

Not happy with the attention you are getting from your IVF clinic? Need more information? Please send me your medical details by filling in the form at www.drmalpani.com/free-second-opinion so that I can guide you!

Authored by : Dr Aniruddha Malpani, MD and reviewed by Dr Anjali Malpani.

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