Why is a semen analysis important?
The semen analysis is one of the most important tests in the infertility evaluation. It should be performed before any treatment of the female begins, as male factor infertility is present in about a third of infertile couples. The semen analysis is a relatively inexpensive test and, given its importance, should be performed by an andrologist in a reproductive medicine laboratory. These clinicians have evaluated thousands of samples and are experts in evaluating subtle sperm abnormalities.
What is evaluated in the semen analysis?
Many sperm characteristics are evaluated. Among them, the most important include the sperm concentration (number of live sperm in the specimen), motility of the sperm (ability to move in a straight line), and the morphology of the sperm (shape and size of the sperm). Abnormalities of the semen analysis may prompt your physician to consult a urologist for further evaluation of your partner.
What treatment options are available for couples with male factor infertility?
Many treatment options now exist for couples with male factor infertility. If the male factor infertility is mild, intrauterine inseminations (IUI) may be an option. Using this technique, concentrated, washed sperm is placed within the uterus using a soft, flexible catheter. Utilization of IUI in conjunction with fertility medications can help improve success rates.