The semen analysis


A spermogram is a test used to determine the quality and quantity of male sperm. The spermiogram is created from a man's ejaculate sample and is used to determine fertility.

Often, a spermiogram is created in the context of an unfulfilled desire to have children to look for possible causes. In order to get a reasonable and meaningful result, it is important that the couple do not have sexual intercourse for several days before the semen is released.

With the spermiogram, not only a statement can be made about the number of sperm in the ejaculate. You also determine the amount and appearance as well as the viscosity of the ejaculate. The sperm can also be examined more closely using the sperm analysis. Special attention is paid to the mobility of the sperm and their appearance.

Also read the article: How do I get pregnant?

The indication

A spermiogram is a diagnostic test that provides information about the quality and quantity of sperm. This test is carried out if the desire to have children is unfulfilled in order to identify any existing infertility. This test is also used after a vasectomy and assesses the success of the procedure.

Find out more about the topic here: Vasectomy- The sterilization of the man.

The course of a semen analysis

A spermiogram can be performed by a urologist or andrologist (sub-area of ​​urology with a focus on fertility and potency) as well as in a fertility practice.

In order to examine the sperm, they must first be obtained. This is usually done through masturbation. The practices provide a quiet room for this. Some practices also offer the option of winning the sample at home. However, strict rules apply to this, as sperm are very sensitive and can be damaged prematurely if carried out incorrectly. The sperm must be collected in a sterile container. This vessel must be transported to the laboratory within an hour. During the transport you have to make sure that the container is kept at about 37 degrees (body temperature).
In addition to masturbation, the sperm can be caught during sexual intercourse with the help of a special condom and used for the examination.

The number, morphology (shape) and motility (mobility) of the sperm are tested in the laboratory. In addition, physical and chemical properties such as pH, viscosity and liquefaction time are assessed.

The grace period

The grace period is three to five days. This means that you shouldn't have sexual intercourse during this time. A long period of abstinence does not improve the result and is therefore not recommended.

The time it takes to get a result

Since a spermiogram has to be examined directly in the laboratory, the results are also available very quickly. Usually you get verbal feedback within a day. You usually have to wait a few days for the written report.

However, the duration of the evaluation can vary in each practice. For this reason, it is advisable to discuss this with your treating doctor in advance.

The semen analysis values

When analyzing the spermiogram, there are standard values ​​for all measured values ​​that can be used as a basis for the assessment. First of all, the appearance of the ejaculate can be assessed. Usually this shows up as a homogeneous mass, which has a greyish to whitish and opaque color.

The volume of the semen is determined as part of the spermiogram. A normal ejaculation results in a fluid volume of more than 1.5 milliliters (on average 2-6 ml). It is important that the man neither had sexual intercourse nor masturbated for about three days before the examination.

The next value that is determined in the course of the spermiogram is the so-called pH value of the seminal fluid. It is used to determine the acidity of the ejaculate. The more acidic it is, the more likely it is to have a killing effect on the sperm and can therefore be a possible cause of sterility in men. Usually the sperm fluid is more basic / alkaline. So it has a pH value greater than 7.2.

The spermiogram can also be used to determine another value, namely the concentration of sperm. The number of sperm in one milliliter of sperm fluid is ideally more than 15 million. This value can also be reduced by previous sexual intercourse. It can also be subject to strong fluctuations, so that a new analysis of another spermiogram should be carried out in the event of an abnormal finding.

The spermiogram can also be used to determine the mobility of the sperm cells. A percentage of the sperm with good mobility in relation to the total number of sperm serves as a reference value. The mobility is divided into three degrees.

Progressive motility describes good mobility and the sperm move forward in large circles or in a straight line. Non-progressively motile means restricted sperm motility. The third group is immotile sperm, which means that they are immobile. Of all sperm in the ejaculate, a normal value of at least 32% must be counted as progressively motile sperm. At least 40% of the sperm must be motile. With this value, the progressive form and the non-progressive form are added. The immobile sperm do not automatically have to be dead. Therefore, in addition to the motility, the vitality of the sperm is also assessed.

White blood cells can also be found in the sperm fluid. However, the number of these should be less than one million per milliliter. The morphology of the sperm is also assessed as a value in the context of a spermiogram.

Based on all these values, one can draw conclusions about possible reasons for the unfulfilled desire to have children.

The causes of infertility? You can find out more about this topic here.

What do head defects mean in the semen analysis?

Head defects describe the shape disorder of a sperm cell. Due to the defective head shape, these sperm cannot dock properly on the egg and perish. As a result, there is no fertilization.

If the percentage of defective sperm is high, an intracytoplasmic sperm injection, i.e. artificial insemination, is recommended.

Find out all about the topic here: Artificial insemination.

The cost of a semen analysis

The costs for creating and evaluating a semenogram can vary widely. Sometimes they differ very significantly depending on the provider. A spermiogram can be made both by a urologist and in a special fertility center. Depending on the doctor or center, the costs are in most cases between 30 and 100 euros. It is best to ask the appropriate doctor beforehand.

If a couple has had an unfulfilled desire to have children for more than a year, the analysis of the spermiogram for the couple concerned is taken over by the respective health insurance company. If you want to do a sperm analysis earlier, you have to pay for it yourself. In most cases, however, waiting for the 12 months is recommended and considered sensible.

If you have a corresponding referral from your family doctor, the costs for the spermiogram are usually also covered by the health insurance. However, if you want to be sure that you don't have to pay for the sperm analysis yourself, you should ask your health insurance company beforehand whether the costs will be covered.

What influence does alcohol have on the semen analysis?

In a scientific study it was shown that regular or excessive alcohol consumption has a negative effect on the quality of sperm. As part of the study, semen was collected from young men and examined. In addition, they had to fill out a questionnaire about their alcohol consumption. As mentioned before, the result of this study was a decreased fertility due to excessive alcohol consumption.

If you want to have children, you shouldn't drink more than five beers a week. Optimally, one even completely renounces alcohol.

What does a semen analysis look like after a vasectomy?

The vasectomy describes a ligation of the vas deferens. This prevents sperm from entering the ejaculate. Vasectomy is a safe method of contraception.

However, in order to guarantee the success of the procedure, i.e. safe contraception, spermiograms must be made. The first semen analysis is carried out 4 weeks after the operation. A second and third check-up is carried out every 4 weeks. If no live sperm could be found in the semen analysis, this speaks for the success of the vasectomy.

More about this topic can be found: Vasectomy - The sterilization of the man.