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How do you prepare for semen analysis or semen production for your IVF treatment?

Prior to the day of semen analysis or semen production for IVF treatment, the couple is advised to refrain from sexual intercourse and masturbation for 3 to 5 days. It is important for the man to clear his semen 3 to 5 days before the analysis because sperm quality could be lower with prolonged abstinence, and thus affect the accuracy of the results.

On the day of semen analysis, couples can choose to either produce the ejaculated semen sample in a sterile container at our centre or at home. Our centre is fitted with a private gentleman’s room to provide a comfortable and discreet environment. If the couple chooses to produce the semen sample at home, they have to deliver the sample to the laboratory at our centre within 1 hour from the production time to reduce any compromise in semen quality.

In the lab: How is semen analysis done?

Our trained embryologists collect the sample container containing semen sample from the couple and start the analysis in our andrology laboratory.

1. Concentration

To assess the concentration, a hemocytometer is used. It allows the embryologist to count the number of sperms in a specific volume.

2. Motility

Sperm motility is assessed by placing the sample on a glass slide and analysing it under a microscope. Motility is graded according to its movement (rapid linear, slow linear, non-progressive, or immotile).

Table 3: Definition of motility parameters

Description Definition
Rapid Linear Fast moving sperm in forward motion.
Slow Linear Slow moving sperm in forward motion.
Non-progressive Sperm that moves in circular motion or twitching on the spot.
Immotile Sperm that is not moving at all.

3. Sperm morphology

Similar to motility, a microscope is used to assess the shape and size of the sperm. A small amount of sample is spread onto a glass slide and stained with dyes. Morphology is graded as normal forms, head defects, mid-piece defects, or tail defects. A sperm with normal form should have a head that is smooth and generally oval in shape, a mid-piece that is slender and regular, and a long uncoiled single tail.

Semen analysis and semen processing for ART treatment:

For couples undergoing assisted reproductive technology (ART) fertility treatments such as Intrauterine insemination (IUI) and In-vitro fertilisation (IVF), the semen sample is assessed for its concentration, motility, and morphology prior to semen processing. Unlike semen analysis, semen samples for ART procedures will be processed by using gradient centrifugation and “swim up” test with the aim to remove debris and immotile sperms.

For IUI procedures, the processed semen sample will be inserted directly into the woman’s uterus to increase the chances of fertilisation. For IVF, the most normal-shaped sperms will be selected for use in Intra-cytoplasmic Sperm Injection (ICSI).

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