The following questions and answers should give you the background you need to understand the results of a semen analysis. You may also find the information to be useful during the follow-up conversation with your physician.
When Should I (or My Partner) Have a Semen Analysis?
A comprehensive semen analysis is one of the appropriate first steps if a couple is having trouble conceiving. In 60% of all couples experiencing infertility, a male factor is involved. It is the primary factor in 40% of these couples and in an additional 20%, there is a combination of male and female factors. Because a comprehensive semen analysis is noninvasive, it is often the first test in a couple's evaluation
The testes take three months to produce and mature sperm and thus there is often a 4-6 month delay between treatment of the man and resulting changes in the semen analysis. Since the evaluation of the woman may take several months, it is recommended that a comprehensive and accurate semen analysis be performed at the outset of an infertility evaluation. Treatment of the man can then occur at the same time as treatment of the woman and there will be no unnecessary delay once the woman's treatment is completed.
The purpose of the man's evaluation (semen analysis and, if appropriate, a consultation) is to maximize the quality of the man's semen. This may reduce the need for more complicated interventions for the female partner. It is also important to rule out significant medical problems that ay be contributing to a poor semen analysis.