Semen Analysis Collection Instructions at Ovation Fertility Austin
Patients who are asked to have a semen analysis by their physician must first call Ovation Fertility Austin (OVA) for an appointment. A semen analysis is a diagnostic test which can be performed at OVA only with a physician’s order. Before collecting a sample, the male partner must read and follow the instructions that are printed on the sheet titled, “OVA Andrology Order Form”. These instructions are available at our Austin IVF lab or may be printed from the above link.
Semen collections for testing must be obtained by masturbation. The reason for this is that bodily fluids of the man (saliva) or of the woman (saliva and vaginal fluids) contain bacteria which can be detrimental to the sperm and cause the sperm to die. If bacteria are seen on the slide during the semen analysis, it will be falsely assumed that the semen is the source. This inaccurate conclusion will result in both partners being placed on unnecessary antibiotics.
Semen collections which are collected by masturbation often require the use of a lubricant. Some lubricants are toxic to sperm and will cause the sperm to die or to stop moving before they are examined. This will give an inaccurate reading of the patient’s semen characteristics and a false interpretation of his problems. This is why a patient should use only the lubricant that is supplied by OVA.
At Home or Ovation Fertility Austin Collection Options
Patients are given the choice of collecting at home or at Ovation Fertility Austin. If a man chooses to collect at home, it is important for him to bring the semen sample in to OVA within an hour of collecting. The reason for this is that sperm do not normally live in seminal fluids for long periods of time. When sperm are ejaculated into a woman’s body, the sperm are contained in semen for a short time before they swim out and enter the cervical and uterine tissue fluids of the woman. In this fluid, they may live for several days. So, our Austin IVF lab staff will examine the semen sample as quickly as possible after its arrival into the lab. This will help to best identify the parameters of that semen sample. In addition, it is best to keep the semen sample at room temperature until it is examined. Sperm do not swim very well if they are exposed to cold temperatures. On the other hand, warm temperatures make the sperm swim faster and use more nutrients. This causes the sperm to exhaust their nutrients quickly and to stop swimming before they are examined.
Abstinence Requirements Before Collection
There is a minimum and a maximum number of days that the male partner should abstain from having an ejaculation before providing a semen sample for testing. If there are too few days since the last ejaculation, the count will be lower than its optimum number. If there are too many days since the last ejaculation, the percent of sperm that are motile will be abnormally low. So, the idea of saving up sperm for several days before the test or for a procedure is not the best way to produce an optimum sample. Sperm are continuously being produced in the testes and they live in the body for only a few days before they begin to die and to be broken down by the white blood cells. If the sperm are ejaculated every 2 to 5 days, there will be the optimum number of the healthiest sperm in the ejaculated semen sample.
The patient instructions include the use of a sterile container which is provided by your physician or by OVA. Other plastic containers may be toxic to sperm and cause them to die or to become non-motile before they are examined or used in a procedure. The same is true for glass containers which have been washed and contain minute quantities of detergent. Even these very small quantities of detergent are toxic to sperm.
Proper labeling of a semen sample is very important, so it must be correct, complete and legible. The information on this label will be copied to the form that will stay with the patient’s chart and it will be used to complete a diagnosis for the physician who is treating the couple. So, it is very important to connect this information with the correct couple by way of the label that is placed on the cup by the male partner. Semen samples that are not labeled completely cannot be examined because the lab staff must be able to associate the results with the correct patient.
When patients arrive at our Austin IVF and andrology lab to drop-off their semen sample or to collect their sample here, they will be asked for a picture ID, which will be photocopied and kept with the lab results of the test. This confirms the identity of the person whose sample is being examined. If a patient’s partner drops a sample off for a semen analysis, she must provide her identification. Semen samples will only be accepted by a patient or his partner.
Test results will be sent to the patient’s physician. The test result can only be interpreted by the patient’s physician or by the testing personnel.