What does semen analysis involve?

semen analysis

Fertility issues are often viewed as a “woman’s problem”, but male infertility becoming increasingly common. During a male fertility check, one thing that will need to be conducted is a semen analysis. Although it may sound dramatic, it is a painless process which is relatively simple from the patient’s perspective, but one that is vital when determining if the male partner has any fertility issues.

If you or your partner is concerned about male fertility, it is essential to discuss your concerns with a fertility clinic that offers semen analysis in Bangkok. We would always recommend that you do this at the earliest opportunity so that the issue can be quickly rectified. In most cases, any problems can be solved with lifestyle changes; however, for others, further treatment may be required. Your doctor will discuss this with you at your appointment.

What is semen analysis?

Semen analysis, or to give it its medical name, “seminogram” is a process of evaluating specific characteristics within the male semen and sperm. The primary objective is first to establish if sperm is indeed present. This may be to judge the success of a vasectomy or to assist couples who are perhaps experiencing some problems conceiving. Once the presence of sperm has been confirmed, a sperm count will take place to access the number of sperm. The process will also involve looking into the shape of the sperm, and their movement often referred to as “sperm motility”.

Preparing for your appointment

As with any other medical procedure, you must prepare properly beforehand. If you don’t follow the guidelines, anomalous results may occur. Your doctor will let you know what precisely you need to do before your appointment, but the minimum requirements will be:

  • Abstaining from sex or masturbation where ejaculation occurs for between 24 and 72 hours before the test
  • The avoidance of alcohol, caffeine and illegal drugs for three to five days before the test
  • Avoid herbal medications for one week before your test
  • Consult your doctor about non-prescription medication which, where possible, should be stopped
  • Discuss any hormone treatments with your doctors such as testosterone tablets or injections

How is the sample taken?

In the vast majority of cases, the sperm will be taken at climax from masturbation unless there are cultural or medical reasons why this cannot take place. In the case of medical reason, a minor surgical procedure known as microsurgical epididymal sperm aspiration (MESA) will take place. For the majority of men, this isn’t required, the male will be asked to ejaculate directly into a plastic container, usually during their appointment at the clinic. However, sterile pots can be taken for use at home. For some cultures, the sperm can be harvested during sexual intercourse using a condom that does not have a spermicidal lubricant.

Why is the sample taken in the clinic?

It is critical that the process of semen analysis begins within an hour of ejaculation as sperm cannot survive long outside the human body. At our fertility clinic in Bangkok, we have private facilities where you won’t be disturbed. Although some patients will naturally find this embarrassing, they should feel reassured that it is something that happens at our clinic every day and now goes mostly ignored by our team.

If you do need to produce the sample at home, the semen should be kept as close to body temperature as possible as any changes can affect motility. Make sure that you use the sterile pot provided and ensure it is kept upright and the lid is securely fastened. If you need to ejaculate into a condom during intercourse, please use the ones provided by our clinic rather than a commercially produced one.

We have a dedicated Indian patient care team who are available to provide any assistance if required.

Follow up appointment

At your follow up appointment, your doctor will explain the results to you. Although they will try to keep the explanation as simple as possible, some patients prefer to know more details. The World Health Organisation guidelines for healthy sperm are based on percentiles and are:

Parameter Lower Reference Limits
Semen volume (ml) 1.5 (1.4 to1.7)
Total sperm count (10^6) 39 (33 to 46)
Sperm concentration (10^6 / ml) 15 (12-16)
Total Motility (%) 40 (38 to 42)
Progressive motility (%) 32 (31 to 34)
Vitality (%) 58 (55 to 63)
Sperm morphology (%) 4 (3 to 4)


What do abnormal results mean?

If your results do come back with some anomalies, it is not something that you should worry unduly about, and your doctor will be able to make several suggestions about the best course of action of treatment. Some of the most common problems and causes that are identified in the clinic are:

  • Chronic often undiagnosed health problems– the most common is diabetes, but there are many more possibilities
  • Excessive consumption of alcohol– the heavy consumption of alcohol over time will affect the quantity and quality of sperm
  • Obesity– being overweight can affect sperm production as well as causing erection problems
  • Duct problems– there may be a blockage preventing sperm from being released
  • Ejaculation issues– this could include retrograde ejaculation or even premature ejaculation when the male ejaculates before penetration
  • Chemotherapy or radiotherapy– these common treatments for cancer can cause problems with sperm production
  • Exposure to toxins – this may be toxins in the environment or through their consumption, deliberate or otherwise
  • Hormonal imbalance – hormonal imbalances, particularly testosterone to can cause changes in libido, erections and the production of sperm
  • Illness – common illness such as coughs and cold can cause a short term decline in sperm production
  • Exposure to excessive heat – the testicles are on the outside of the body to keep them cooler. Exposing them to extreme heat such as in a hot tub can reduce sperm production
  • Sexually transmitted infections (STIs)Varicocele – enlarged veins in the groin region

Contact Us

If you would like more information about semen analysis in Bangkok, we would invite you to contact us and a member of our friendly team will be able to assist you.