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In order to assess the ability to conceive, doctors use a spermiogram to analyze the male seminal fluid based on fixed criteria.
If the desire to father a child does not come true, this can have many reasons. These reasons can lie with her or with him, with both, or are sometimes simply not ascertainable.
First of all, a spermiogram can reveal important aspects about a man’s ability to conceive. Here, the doctor analyzes the man’s sperm using a proven standard procedure. The focus is on the microscopic assessment of the sperm with regard to their shape, number, and motility.
Standard Values Of The WHO
In 2010, the World Health Organization (WHO) established new standard values for a spermiogram. This new determination is based on the results of ejaculate examinations of fertile men. However, if the spermiogram is abnormal, this does not immediately mean that the man is infertile. For example, stress, smoking, or heavy alcohol consumption can cause sperm quality to be temporarily impaired. Therefore, the doctor will perform a pathological finding with a second sperm examination to confirm the disease. There must be at least 7 days between the two examinations.
Why A Spermiogram Is Done
The most common reason for a spermiogram is that couples are trying unsuccessfully to get pregnant. A spermiogram can then be used to check whether an insufficient number or insufficient quality of sperm is responsible for the unfulfilled desire to have a child. A spermiogram is also used after sterilization to test whether the ejaculate still contains fertile sperm.
How A Sperm Sample Is Obtained
In order to have a doctor perform a meaningful spermiogram, the sperm must be brought fresh for testing. A spermiogram is most reliable when the man masturbates at the site where the spermiogram will be performed, collects the sample in a sterile sample container, and delivers it. Hospitals and urology offices usually have a quiet room specifically designed for this purpose.
Many men have a problem masturbating in such an unfamiliar environment. In this case, it is also possible to masturbate at home and then bring the sample to the practice as soon as possible. The doctor will inform you beforehand how to store and transport the sample.
For best results, WHO recommends abstaining sexually for 3-5 days before the sample. This way the best possible quality of sperm can be tested.
What Is Examined First During A Spermiogram
To create a spermiogram, the sperm is first examined by the doctor or laboratory staff without any major aids. The so-called macroscopic examination has the following criteria:
- Odor: Normal is chestnut flower-like odor.
- Color: Normal- whitish, cloudy. A brownish color may indicate blood admixture. If the hue turns yellowish, this suggests infection.
- Volume: According to WHO, the volume of ejaculate per ejaculation should be more than 1.5 milliliters.
- PH value: The PH value can be determined with an indicator paper. It should be between 7.2 and 8. The macroscopic examination is followed by a microscopic examination.
- Sperm count: There should be more than 39 million sperm cells in the whole ejaculate.
- Sperm concentration: The standard value here is 15 million sperm per milliliter of ejaculate.
- White blood cell count: One milliliter of semen should contain less than one million white blood cells.
- Vital sperm percentage: At least 58% of the sperm must be alive. This is usually checked with the help of a dye. Only the dead sperm cells are discolored by this dye.
- Proportion of motile sperm: At least 40% of the sperm cells must be motile.
- Proportion of normally shaped sperm: They should have a regular normally shaped head.
How Prone To Error A Spermiogram Is
From time to time, the spermiogram can be different. If the man has had an infection, this will also show in the spermiogram. So the spermiogram not only refers to the general health of the man but is also very specific to the condition of the day. This is how deviations can occur.
How many sperm are needed for conception to occur?
According to WHO, 15 million healthy sperm are needed. However, even very few are sufficient, because in the end only one sperm is fertilized. However, if there are fewer sperm, it may take longer to conceive successfully.
Does The Amount Of Sperm Have An Effect On Fertility?
The amount of sperm has no effect on fertility. Only the number of healthy sperm in the fluid has an effect on a man’s fertility.
How Do You Improve Your Sperm Quality?
One should eat a healthy diet in general. A poor diet is detrimental to sperm quality. Unfortunately, there are no medications to improve sperm quality. However, a number of foods are recommended.
Here are some tips to improve sperm quality:
- A healthy balanced diet with sufficient vitamins, zinc, and folic acid.
- Antioxidants can improve sperm quality by quite a bit, as free radicals affect sperm quality by quite a bit.
- Omega-3 fatty acids are contained for example in walnuts.
- Abstain from stimulants. This means not smoking and moderate alcohol consumption.
- Do not wear too tight underpants and avoid heated seats.
- Pay attention to a regular movement, but no competitive sport.
- Avoid environmental toxins e.g. bisphenol A (BPA) (plasticizers).
Antibodies In The Ejaculate
When there are antibodies in the ejaculate, the sperm are destroyed by these antibodies. Infertility will result.
Costs Of A Spermiogram
As a rule, a spermiogram costs between 60 and 90 €. However, if you can convince the doctor that your desire to have a child will not work out, the health insurance will cover the full costs. However, to be sure, you should contact your health insurance company beforehand.
What Happens Next?
In most cases, a cause for childlessness is found and can thus be specifically addressed by a doctor. In around 60-70% of supposedly infertile couples, the desire to have children is fulfilled after all with medical care. What do you both need for this? A good year of patience and stamina! Note: Stress in particular has an impact on fertility.