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Preliminary sperm tests

You will need to conduct a sperm analysis and count test before you start the process, before you’ve even frozen and sent sperm to the clinic and definitely if you decided to fly for a visit.

The test is important in order to identify whether there is a problem with the sperm so that it can be treated before the sperm is frozen, which you will then use to create the embryos.

There are a lot of factors affecting the quality of the sperm, some are “invisible” like smoking, which according to studies may affect the quality of the sperm and success rates in embryo transfer, chemistry with the egg, etc., and there are other visible things like morphology, motility, sperm cell count, and more.

Tests such as sperm analysis show sperm cell motility, morphology, concentration, color, viscosity and quantity, the presence of white blood cells, which may indicate an active infection, and more.

The parameter that is most looked at in these routine tests is the concentration and the percentage of viable sperm. Although the standard labs consider it “problematic” if there are less than 4% “normal” sperm cells, it’s important to remember that the problem would manifest mainly if you wanted to impregnate through regular intercourse. IVF processes currently use advanced in-vitro fertilization methods (with an emphasis on a fertilization method called ICSI) where you select the sperm cells, so even a few dozen are enough. But still, you want to see a concentration of around 50 million per sample.

Remember that every sample is different, and sometimes the results change according to activity level, body temperature, duration since last ejaculation, etc.

Before you stress over it, send the results of your sperm analysis to your clinic. I also received the preliminary results and were disappointed that I only had 2% “normal” sperm, and in bold red it said, “seek medical treatment”. However, my fertility clinic doctor reassured me that my personal results are perfect for IVF. Sometimes I see even lower numbers - but the question is not only the numbers, but the percentage of the number. Even in most cases where there is a very low count there are solutions you can apply to improve the quality, and in very rare cases there are always surgical options.

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