Posted: 01 May 2015
Author: London Sperm Bank

Semen Analysis Part 2

One of the most common causes of a poor semen assessment is incomplete or improper collection of the sample.  When a potential donor visits our sperm bank, we will offer repeat semen analysis to men that have borderline results to ensure consistency between samples.  
To ensure that your results are accurate, it is important that you:
• Make sure that all of your semen makes it into the collection cup
• Let us know if you are recovering from illness or stressful event.  We would usually advise that you wait at least three months before producing a sample for analysis as stress and illness can negatively impact results. 
• Let us know if you are or have taken antibiotics in the last three months before your ejaculation.
• Abstain from ejaculating for exactly 3 days prior to producing a sample for analysis as this significantly affects the quality of the sample produced on the day.

Reasons for poor semen analysis results:

• Low testosterone levels
• Frequent sexual activity
• Nutritional deficiencies
• Injury to the testicles
• Tight clothing/ heat, or infection
• Obstruction of the vas deferens(the duct that carries sperm from the testicles to the urethra)
• Absence or blockage of the seminal vesicle, partial retrograde ejaculation
• Medication
• Illness/ infection
• Poor health habits like smoking
• Inadequate hydration

A low volume can also be caused by stress over taking the test itself.

It is important to recognise that because semen quality fluctuates, having one poor semen analysis does not necessarily mean that you have fertility problems.

When applying to become a sperm donor, we also test to see if the sample produced on the day of assessment is also suitable for freezing.  This is an important step as donor sperm is stored in liquid nitrogen prior to use by patients.

Sometimes your semen analysis results are fine prior to freezing the sample.  If you are not accepted as a donor because of a poor post thaw (post freeze) result, this simply means that your semen sample was not suitable for freezing and is not necessarily a reflection of your ability to reproduce.