The seminogram , also called spermiogram or spermogram in the clinical setting, is a diagnostic test to evaluate the quality of semen. For this, a wide range of macroscopic and microscopic factors are taken into consideration: seminal volume and pH, sperm morphology, concentration …
There are a number of reference values that are taken as normal test results. In this way, based on the results obtained, it can be determined if there is any type of alteration that may cause infertility and, thus, the chances of achieving a pregnancy.
Causes for performing a seminogram
The seminogram is performed on a regular basis to check if there is any type of problem related to male infertility. Therefore, it is very common in those couples who have problems conceiving ; in the case of men, this is the main test in the infertility study.
The doctor may also request a seminogram when there is some kind of suspicion of damage to the testicles for various reasons, such as an infection. It is important to note that even if one of the testicles suffers some type of damage, the other may be enough to keep the number of sperm at its normal values.
The seminogram is also performed in those men who have undergone a vasectomy, to check that it has been performed correctly. In this case, there should be no presence of sperm in the semen.
Below we explain step by step how this test is performed. It is worth noting that for the results to be reliable, the semen analysis should be performed after a period of sexual abstinence of five days . During this period of time both sexual intercourse and masturbation should be avoided.
In addition, to make a correct diagnosis, in the vast majority of cases two tests are performed with a minimum period of one month difference between them. In this way, the results obtained in both seminograms are compared and a definitive diagnosis is established.
The first phase of the test consists of collecting semen through masturbation ; this is deposited in a sterilized pot. Beforehand, both hands and genitals should be washed properly, with plenty of warm water and pH neutral soap.
It is essential to collect the entire ejaculate sample. The shoulders often do not feel comfortable during this phase, so they tend to lose part of the sample. Well, in this case the sample is not representative and, therefore, the semen collection must be repeated.
The most common is that semen collection is carried out in the clinic itself, with the aim of not altering the sample in the least. However, in some cases the sample can be collected at home and delivered to the laboratory; in this case, it is an essential condition that a period of time does not exceed half an hour.
Once the sample is collected, it is analyzed in the laboratory. Two analyzes are carried out. First, what is known as macroscopic analysis. And secondly, the microscopic analysis.
The following values are taken into consideration.
- Volume: it is one of the most important factors of the seminogram. As its name suggests, the volume of semen is analyzed, which is measured in milliliters. Normal values are considered from 1.5 milliliters.
- Liquefaction: to obtain the values of this parameter, the semen sample is allowed to rest for twenty minutes. During this period of time, a protein called fibrinolysin is expelled from the ejaculate. Otherwise, it is a clear indication that there is a certain pathology.
- Viscosity: to analyze the viscosity of the semen, in the laboratory it is analyzed whether or not there are threads in the ejaculate.
- Color: another of the determining factors is the color of the semen. Under normal conditions it should be white, slightly yellowish. If it looks different, additional tests should be done because it may indicate an infection.
- pH: regarding normal pH values, they range between 7.2 and 8.0. Figures above or below this range indicate possible alterations in semen production.
To carry out the second phase of the ejaculate analysis, the following parameters are determined.
- Sperm concentration: under normal conditions, the sperm concentration per milliliter should be greater than 15 million. The total number of sperm present in the semen is also analyzed; it is considered normal when the figure exceeds 39 million.
- Sperm mobility: another parameter to be analyzed is the movement capacity of sperm. On the one hand, the total movement is established, which must be greater than 40%. And, on the other hand, the type of movement, which is divided into three large groups; slow, moderate and fast.
- Morphology: the morphology of the sperm is also analyzed, especially in relation to the shape of the head, although the shape of the tail is also determined. A normal semen sample from the morphological point of view is considered to be one in which more than 4% of the spermatozoa have a normal shape and do not present any type of abnormality.
- Presence of leukocytes: and, finally, the presence of leukocytes in the collected sample. If there is a large presence of leukocytes, it indicates that there is an infection, which requires treatment.
Once the semen sample is collected, the most common is that the results are obtained after two to three days.
Diseases that cause sperm problems
There are several diseases that can lead to sperm problems and, in a high percentage of cases, infertility. Here are some of the most common.
- Varicocele: a disorder characterized by the enlargement of the veins of the scrotum. This is one of the most frequent causes of both low production and low quality sperm, which can lead to infertility. In relation to the symptoms of this disease, it is common to feel a sharp pain in the scrotum, which worsens as the day progresses.
- Hydrocele: a type of inflammation that affects the scrotum is known as such. It is generated after the accumulation of fluid in the scrotum. Although it can affect people of all ages, it is more common in newborns. It is generally not a painful disorder and, in the vast majority of cases, it does not require medical treatment.
- Hyperthyroidism : Hyperthyroidism means that the thyroid produces more thyroid hormones than the body really needs. It is a more common disorder in women, sucks everything from 60 years of age. As for the causes of this disease, one of the most common is Grave’s disorder; it can also be due to excessive iodine intake.
- Diabetes : Diabetes can significantly affect sperm development in men. A disorder characterized by very high blood sugar levels.
Male infertility is the name for the inability to cause a pregnancy, the most common cause being a low sperm count. In those cases in which the woman cannot get pregnant, it is important to perform the appropriate male and female fertility tests .
A large selection of factors are analyzed in the seminogram, such as the quantity, mobility and morphology of the sperm . Thus, if the diagnostic test determines a low sperm count, as well as mobility problems, male infertility can be diagnosed.
Another common cause of this disorder are various problems with ejaculation. There are also cases in which it is impossible to determine the cause of male infertility; This is what is known as idiopathic infertility.
Here are the most common causes of infertility in men.
- Exposure for a long period of time to toxic environments.
- Hormonal alterations related to different disorders of the endocrine system , such as hypothyroidism.
- Obesity also greatly impairs fertility. Numerous studies have established a direct relationship between being overweight and low sperm production.
- The excessive drinking also impairs fertility. Drinking large amounts of alcoholic beverages can affect testosterone levels, as well as the quantity and quality of sperm.
- Certain disorders affecting the scrotum and testicles.
- And, finally, a sedentary lifestyle significantly reduces the quality of semen.
The seminogram is a completely painless medical test, which has been carried out since the beginning of the 20th century. In recent years, this test has become increasingly important as it is routinely performed in infertility studies.
Dozens of seminograms are performed daily in clinics around the world. That is why it is common. Results take a few days to obtain.
Hello Readers, I am Nikki Bella a Psychology student. I have always been concerned about human behavior and the mental processes that lead us to act and think the way we do. My collaboration as an editor in the psychology area of Well Being Pole has allowed me to investigate further and expand my knowledge in the field of mental health; I have also acquired great knowledge about physical health and well-being, two fundamental bases that are directly related and are part of all mental health.