The fertility of a couple depends as much on the sperm as it does on the egg. When a couple approaches an infertility clinic for treatment, the eggs and the sperms are the first parameters to be studied. Similarly, both of these are to be retrieved as a part of infertility treatments such as IVF, IUI, and ICSI. When it comes to treatment of male infertility issues, semen collection forms an integral part of it.
Semen collection is done for diagnostic or medical purposes but it may not be easy for the patient. Being something very private, it can make a patient uncomfortable. Yet, it is important to realize that he is doing so for being treated and starting a family. This makes all the effort justified. Most men are unaware about what to expect during semen collection. Knowing all about it can make things a lot easier for them.
Why is semen collection done?
Semen collection is done for two purposes, for diagnosis and for assisted reproduction. A man is made to supply fresh sperms for testing the sperm count, motility and morphology. These tests are the basic diagnostics used to detect male infertility.Sperm health directly influences the ability of a man to conceive. For pregnancy to take place, the number of sperms should be sufficient, they must move properly, and be shaped properly too. All these factors are diagnosed only on the basis of semen testing.
The second reason why semen collection is done is for being used in assisted reproductive techniques such as IUI, IVF, or ICSI. These techniques require the male partner to provide a semen sample on demand. The sperms so extracted are used to impregnate a woman via artificial insemination (IUI) or for embryo culture (IVF or ICSI).
Pre-Requisites of Semen Collection
Semen collection can be thought of something as simple as masturbation, but there is a great deal more involved. The patient has a long list of instructions to follow to ensure that the sample is good enough for testing or treatment. He is asked to abstain from ejaculation/sexual intercourse for at least a few days prior to semen collection. This helps to maximize the sperm count in the semen sample. A two day gap is seen as the best for this purpose. At the same time, a gap that is too long hampers the sperm quality as these may not be “fresh”. The reason is that the percentage of live sperms in such samples is too low.
In addition to timing the semen collection properly, it is important to collect the sample in a sterile environment. The quality of sperm is to be maintained so that they give the right results after diagnosis or treatment. Semen collection is preferably done at the IVF clinic, though some clinics may allow it to be done at home. The patient requires complete privacy for collecting the semen in a sterile container. He may do it himself or with his partner’s help, but he has to make sure that the semen does not come in contact with body fluids.
Use of lubricants is not allowed as thee can hamper with the sperm quality. Once the sample is collection in a sterile cup, it should be capped immediately and taken to the lab, preferably within an hour. The time of sample collection is also to be recorded as the lab requires it for further analysis. Delay in sample transport should be avoided as it may result in deterioration of its quality.
Precautions Related to Sperm Collection
It is important to keep the semen sample at the right temperature till it transported to the laboratory. The body temperature is the optimal temperature for keeping the semen sample in the right condition. The sperms stay the healthiest at this temperature and getting hotter or colder can spoil them. This is particularly important if the sample is collected at home and is to be taken to the lab. Other important precautions relate to abstinence from smoking, alcohol, drugs and medication prior to scheduled semen collection. Hot baths, saunas and spas should also be avoided.
Sperm collection through ejaculation may not be suitable for all cases. Some men may require advanced methods such as testicular sperm recommended for men with severe male infertility issues, such as extremely poor sperm count or ejaculation problems. After the collection, the semen sample is studied to evaluate all the basic parameters, sperm count, motility or morphology. Further, when sperms are to be used for advanced reproductive techniques such as IVF, IUI or ICSI, these have to be prepared first.
A man should not feel apprehensive about semen collection but take it as a scientific process. He should do it in a positive frame of mind, considering that it plays a crucial role in fulfilling his parental dreams.
Gaudium IVF is a trusted IVF Centre in Delhi, which offers effective treatment for the most complicated infertility issues. The clinic also provides expert counseling and support to help them with gynecological problems. Visit here for free second opinion from Dr Manika Khanna, the best infertility specialist in Delhi.