Male Infertility Tests, The Semen Analysis
Approximately half of all infertile couples have a male infertility component. This makes the semen analysis one of the most important fertility tests that must be completed prior to any female treatment.The semen analysis is a test for male infertility and to determine if any problems problems lie within the man’s sperm.
Sadly, we sometimes see couples where the female has undergone infertility treatment only to learn that there is a male infertility component “missed” by the semen analysis. Sometimes we see couples where the semen analysis was not performed. “Miss diagnosed” male infertility is very frustrating and a waste of time, money, and emotions.
Given the importance of the semen analysis, it must be performed by a highly qualified infertility laboratory with trained andrologists (the study of sperm and semen). Commercial laboratories may perform far fewer analyses than reproductive labs and some personnel do not have advanced training in diagnosing the often subtle causes of male infertility.
Reproductive labs are often more expensive because managed care providers encourage members to use the “cheapest” lab regardless of their experience with male infertility. The semen analysis is too important to relegate based upon cost alone. Our laboratory is approved by the state and federal governing authorities to assure the highest quality.
Our laboratory examines sperm and semen using the Kruger Strict Criteria as a guideline. The sperm that we prepare for IUI conducted by our referring physicians undergo the Kruger evaluation prior to leaving our laboratory.
Kruger Strict Guidelines Include the Following:
|>=15% normal:||Normal range – Good prognosis|
|5-14% normal:||Sub optimal range – Prognosis is fair to good, however, the lower the percent normal, the lower the chance of successful fertilization|
|0-4% normal:||Poor prognosis – Will usually need IVF with intracytoplasmic sperm injection (ICSI)|
Some of these parameters are difficult to assess which is why a trained, experienced andrologist should perform the semen analysis. A borderline sub optimal analysis may indicate that IUI will be successful but a very poor analysis usually means that IVF with ICSI will be required to initiate a pregnancy.
The decision as to which therapy to use is complicated and includes consideration of factors such as the cause (s) of the couple’s infertility, infertility treatment history, female age, and many other parameters. Sometime a couple may choose to use a sperm donor.