Welcome to the Semen Analysis… check your dignity at the door

“Welcome to the Semen Analysis (SA)… check your dignity at the door”

As a woman I can only think of this a justice for years of pap smears but the SA is not a walk in the park. With input from my partner, here is the story of an SA.

You must abstain for at least 3 but no more than 5 days. Less than 3 days will decrease sperm count and more than 5 will produce “old” sperm. If you are lucky enough to live near the lab you can “collect” a sample at home and take it to the lab while keeping it warm. If you live more than 45 minutes from your lab you will have to collect in “the room.” The room could be the bathroom stall or a small, closet-sized room with a chair and some magazines to “help with collection.” The walls of this closet are paper thin and you can hear the sounds of the lab beyond them. You are worried about producing the sample too quickly and looking weird. You are equally worried that you will take too long and look weird. What exactly is the socially acceptable period of time for masturbating into a sterile cup before handing it to a complete stranger behind the desk? Someone should write Emily Post…

It will probably take a few days but you will eventually get results that consist of at least the following data (there are lots more sometimes):
Motility (percentage of sperm moving correctly)
Count (number of sperm per sample)
Morphology (percentage of sperm with the correct shape)

Each lab is different. Our lab wanted to see the following
Volume: 2-5 ml
Motility >50%
Count > 40 million
Morphology >30% normal

Here were our results:
Volume: 5.6ml
Motility: 26%
Count: 78.4 million
Morphology: 4%
The lab noted that an antibody test is recommended and a referred us to a Urologist specializing in male infertility.