These are the normal results for a semen analysis

Seminograma

A semen analysis, also known as a sperm count test, is a crucial examination in the study of male infertility.It provides valuable information about the quality of the semen and the reproductive health of the man.

Below, we speak with Dr. Álvaro Martínez on how to interpret the results of a semen analysis or spermiogram.

Álvaro

What is a semen analysis?

A spermiogram, also known as semen analysis, is a diagnostic test designed to assess the quality of semen. This analysis covers both macroscopic aspects, such as semen volume, viscosity, or pH, and microscopic aspects, including the count, mobility, and morphology of sperm.

How to interpret semen analysis results

According to the standard parameters set by the World Health Organization (WHO) in 2021, specific criteria define the normal ranges for these analyses.

Macroscopic Analysis

After obtaining the semen sample, it is evaluated for:

  • Volume: Expressed in millilitres, a normal semen volume starts from 1.4 ml.
  • Liquefaction: Semen should become more fluid after a period post-ejaculation. After 20 minutes at room temperature, the sample should liquefy, allowing for microscopic examination.
  • Viscosity: Semen is slightly viscous post-ejaculation, so this parameter is assessed by the formation of threads. If these threads are less than 2 cm, they are considered normal. An abnormal increase in viscosity can indicate an issue with the secretions forming the semen.
  • Colour: Semen should be whitish-grey. Any other appearance might indicate infection, inflammation, or issues within the male reproductive system.
  • pH: The pH of semen is also determined by the vesicles contributing various compounds to what constitutes the seminal plasma. The normal ranges for seminal pH are between 7.2 and 8.0.

Microscopic Analysis

laboratorio

In the microscopic evaluation of semen, these are the most important parameters:

  • Sperm concentration: This is the number of spermatozoa in a sample. It is analysed in two ways: concentration per millilitre or the total number of spermatozoa in the ejaculate. The concentration per millilitre is considered normal from 16 million/ml, while in the ejaculate, it is considered normal from 39 million spermatozoa.
  • Sperm motility: Sperm motility is analysed to see the ability of the spermatozoa to move (remember that, naturally, the spermatozoa should swim from the vagina to the tubes, where fertilisation would take place). Two categories are distinguished: total motility, with a minimum standard of 40% (including any movement), and progressive motility, with a minimum of 30% (sperm moving forward).
  • Vitality: This is a technique that allows us to know whether the spermatozoa are alive or dead. It consists of a staining, which is especially useful in those seminograms where motility is very low. To be considered normal vitality, at least 54% of the spermatozoa must be alive.
  • Morphology: This consists of analysing whether the parts of which a spermatozoa is composed (head, neck and tail) are correctly formed. A semen sample is considered normal when more than 4% of the spermatozoa have a normal structure.
  • Presence of leukocytes or epithelial cells: Sometimes, cells other than spermatozoa, such as epithelial cells or leukocytes, may appear in semen samples. These cases should be analysed, especially when the amount of leucocytes is higher than 1 million cells/ml, as it may indicate infection.

Motile Sperm Count (MSC)

foto tubo de analysis

REM analysis of the semenogram focuses on isolating spermatozoa according to their motility. This procedure uses the semen sample, which is treated by the process of seminal capacitation, which allows the isolation of those spermatozoa with the best motility.

The techniques that allow seminal capacitation are the swim-up method and density gradients.

Based on these standards and the results obtained from the spermiogram, it is possible to determine the presence of abnormalities in the semen that could influence male fertility and, therefore, the chances of conceiving.

Frequently asked questions about semen analysis

How long do the results of a semen analysis take?

The results of a basic semen analysis are usually available the same day the sample is dropped off. However, some techniques, such as REM, vitality or morphology, take longer and the delivery of these results may be delayed by two to three days.

What not to do before the semen analysis

To ensure accurate results from a semen analysis, it is essential to carefully follow certain instructions prior to collection:

  • Maintain a period of sexual abstinence of between 2 and 4 days, with less than 2 and no more than 4 days being advisable.
  • Use a sterile container purchased from a pharmacy or provided by the clinic to collect the sample.
  • The sample should be obtained by masturbation, excluding methods such as coitus interruptus or the use of commercial condoms (because they contain spermicides).
  • Ensure hygiene during collection, including hand washing beforehand.
  • Collect the entire sample; if any part of the sample is lost, the sample will not be considered valid for diagnostic purposes.
  • In case the sample is collected at a location other than the clinic, the sample should be delivered to the laboratory within 1 hour, as transport time and conditions to the clinic may have an impact on sperm quality.
  • Report any medications being taken or recent febrile illnesses.

Normal semen or spermogram results

  • The sample volume should be equal to or greater than 1.4 ml.
  • The pH should be in the range of 7.2 to 8.0.
  • The sperm concentration should be equal to or greater than 16 million sperm per millilitre.
  • The total number of spermatozoa in the ejaculate must exceed 40 million spermatozoa.
  • Progressive motility must be equal to or greater than 30%.
  • More than 54% of the spermatozoa must be alive.
  • At least 4% of the spermatozoa must have normal morphology.

Semen analysis in Madrid

Are you thinking of having a semen analysis? Come and have a semen analysis in Madrid at our fertility clinic Vida Fertility.

The process is simple, as the semen analysis does not require invasive methods. It will be performed at the fertility clinic or at home and we always recommend not having sexual intercourse during the 2 and 4 days prior to masturbation.

The complete report with the results of the semen analysis will be given to the patient one or two days after the analysis and all the values and unresolved doubts will be discussed.

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