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Semen analysis: what's the purpose?

Semen analysis is performed to assess male fertility. Sperm tests assess and describe the various parameters of sperm. Test results can vary greatly, as various factors influence sperm such as alcohol use, smoking, sport trainings, and age. To obtain the most accurate data, it is advisable to carry out two semen analyzes with a 3-week interval.

To obtain accurate results, it is important to prepare correctly for the sperm test, since the determination of the diagnosis and the need for treatment will depend on the results obtained. A man should refrain from sexual relations for at least three to five days, but not more than one week before taking the tests, because otherwise the volume of ejaculate and the number of spermatozoa in it may decrease. Longer abstinence can lead to the death of mature sperm; therefore, no results will be obtained reflecting the actual situation. You should also refrain from smoking, drinking alcohol and junk food. Energy drinks and strong black coffee should also not be used.

Routine semen analysis (spermogram) includes a description of the appearance of semen, determination of the number of spermatozoa, sperm motility and morphology, as well as MAR test. Description of the semen appearance includes volume, viscosity, liquefaction time, agglutination and pH of the ejaculate. The examination of sperm morphology shows a percentage of normal-shaped sperm counts. This is important because the spermatozoa head contains genetic information. The MAR test measures the presence of antisperm antibodies on a sperm surface, which are responsible for the body's immunological response to spermatozoa.

Complex sperm test includes spermogram (semen analysis), functional sperm test, and DNA fragmentation test.

Sperm functional test determines sperm maturity and the ability to fertilize an egg. Immature spermatozoa will not be able to fertilize the egg, while mature ones will, because they have special receptors on their heads to help them find and fertilize the egg.

Sperm DNA fragmentation test is performed to determine how many spermatozoa have fragmented DNA. It manifests itself as a DNA bond rupture in both or one DNA strand. If the rupture affects the genes necessary for embryo development and implantation, the embryo may die. In some cases, DNA fragmentation can be reduced.

If no spermatozoa are found in ejaculate, the patient may be diagnosed with azoospermia.

To determine the cause of azoospermia, it is possible to carry out fructose and alpha-glucosidase tests. The fructose test determines its amount in the ejaculate. Fructose provides energy for sperm motility and vitality, as well as carries out their formation and development. An alpha-glucosidase test can detect the secretory dysfunction of the epididymis and the associated decrease in sperm quality.

After performing sperm tests, an Andrologist consultation is recommended, who will comment on the results, as well as offer possible solutions in case of any problem.


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