If you’re having a hard time conceiving a child, it might be time to seek medical expertise. This means you and your partner will probably undergo plenty of tests and consultations. The female reproductive system is enormously complex, and many factors can affect your fertility. That’s why so many mistakenly believe that infertility is stereotypically a female issue.
Men are responsible for half of fertility challenges, so it’s critical to consider your role as well. After checking for evident barriers, such as illness, vasectomy, and erectile dysfunction, one of the very first steps is assessing your semen.
At The Fertility & Gynecology Center-Monterey Bay IVF in Monterey Bay, California, our fertility experts provide a comprehensive semen analysis to ease your mind. Dr. Edward J. Ramirez, MD, FACOG, is a board-certified OB/GYN and fertility preservation specialist who determines if there are issues with the health of your semen. The exam checks for vital characteristics in your sperm that impact your fertility so Dr. Ramirez can advise you on improving your chances of conception. Here’s what you can expect during a semen analysis.
Here’s why you might need a semen analysis
If you and your partner have been trying to conceive for many months without success, you may wonder if there’s a problem. In reality, conception is complex, and while some couples get pregnant on the first try, approximately 93% of fertile, healthy couples take up to two years to conceive.
If you’re beyond an entire year of trying to get pregnant (or six months if your partner is 37 or older) and still haven’t had success, it’s time to schedule an appointment at The Fertility & Gynecology Center-Monterey Bay IVF. The standard operating procedure for men begins with a semen analysis to determine fertility.
Another reason men might need a semen analysis is to test the success (or failure) of a vasectomy. The purpose of a vasectomy is to keep sperm out of your ejaculate, and a semen analysis can determine if sperm are present. You might need a semen analysis once a month, up to three months in a row, for the most accurate results.
Finally, a semen analysis tests the return of your sperm after a vasectomy reversal.
Here’s what you can expect during your semen analysis
A semen analysis is as simple as providing a sample of your ejaculate so we can test it in a laboratory. However, there are some procedures we ask you to follow to guarantee your sample is healthy and uncontaminated.
- Tell us about any medications you’re taking
- Avoid supplements, especially St. John’s wort (reduces sperm motility) and echinacea (affects sperm production)
- Stop taking testosterone
- Avoid calcium channel blocker medications for high blood pressure
- Don’t use steroids to build muscle (they interfere with sperm production)
- The best sperm samples are collected after two to four days of abstinence
- Refrain from drugs, tobacco, alcohol, and caffeine for five days before your semen analysis
Once your system is clear of substances that might alter your results, it’s time to analyze your semen.
Here’s how to collect your semen sample
We understand that this part may feel uncomfortable for many men. Rest assured that our team is committed to treating you and your partner with dignity and respect throughout your fertility journey. At The Fertility & Gynecology Center-Monterey Bay IVF, we offer a safe, comfortable, private environment free of judgment.
When you need to provide a semen sample for analysis, we offer you a few possible optional ways to collect it. You can choose the method that’s most comfortable for you.
Many of our male patients choose to provide their sample in our office. Here, we offer you a private room where you can masturbate to produce a sample.
If you favor intercourse instead of masturbation at our clinic, you can use specialized condoms that don’t harm the sperm. You then place the condom in a container and bring it to the clinic within one hour.
What happens after you provide your semen sample?
By analyzing the shape, size, number, and movement of your sperm, Dr. Ramirez determines whether your sperm are likely to fertilize an egg and what to do next if your results are abnormal.
To learn more about male fertility, semen analysis, and the tests and treatments you may need, contact us by phone or online to schedule a consultation with Dr. Ramirez.