USC Fertility

Semen Analysis

Get tested, then let our Los Angeles fertility center help

Our Los Angeles fertility center provides comprehensive semen analysis reportingIssues with a man’s semen or sperm affect more than a third of couples unable to have children. Our Los Angeles fertility center team wants to help you understand and consider semen analysis, which measures the quantity and quality of semen to identify a fertility issue or determine whether a vasectomy or vasectomy reversal was successful.

Our Los Angeles fertility center provides comprehensive semen analysis reporting

The andrologists at our Los Angeles fertility center report semen analysis results to our fertility specialists. Each report summarizes sperm health as it relates to fertility potential.

  • The volume of semen in the ejaculate ranges from 2 to 5 milliliters. Lower or higher amounts might signal a fertility issue.
  • Liquefaction time – when semen transforms from gel to liquid – normally takes 30 minutes. A longer time may be a sign of an infection.
  • Sperm count is typically 20 million or more per milliliter of semen. A low count may be a sign of infertility, though men with counts below 1 million have fathered children.
  • Sperm shape is normal when approximately 30% of sperm have a head and tail. Some abnormal sperm are found in every semen sample, but an unusually high percentage might affect fertility.
  • Sperm movement, or motility, considers how many sperm show normal forward movement within an hour. If less than half move normally, a pregnancy may be unlikely.
  • Semen pH is normal at 7.2 to 8.0. A higher or lower level can hamper sperm movement and the ability to penetrate an egg.
  • The white blood cell count in semen should be zero. If it isn’t, an infection is likely.
  • Fructose level measures the presence of fructose, a sugar that provides energy for sperm. Values below 1200 μg/ml can reveal inflammation of the seminal vesicles or androgen deficiency.

An abnormally low sperm count may be a marker for a bacterial infection, varicocele, radiation treatment of the testicles, and diseases such as mumps that can cause testicles to shrink. A lower sperm count or high percentage of abnormal sperm should prompt more tests, which might address hormone levels, including testosterone, luteinizing hormone (LH), follicle-stimulating hormone (FSH) and prolactin.

Ensure an accurate semen analysis

Semen analysis may produce accurate results if you take cimetidine (Tagamet), male or female hormones, sulfasalazine, nitrofurantoin, or some chemotherapy medicines, or if you use caffeine, alcohol, cocaine, marijuana, tobacco or herbal medicines such as St. John’s wort or high doses of Echinacea.

Your Los Angeles fertility center team will prepare you for an accurate semen analysis and we usually recommend an on-site collection. While we do provide instructions for at-home collection, the test accuracy can slip if the sample gets cold or is exposed to radiation, some chemicals such as pesticides or spermicides, or prolonged heat.

The sample could also have unusual volume if ejaculation has not occurred for several days. If you take a sample at home, you must transport it to a laboratory or clinic within an hour, keep it out of direct sunlight, and don’t let it get cold or hot.

Contact us at our Los Angeles fertility center

Contact us to learn more about semen analysis. We’ll help interpret results and explain your fertility treatment options.