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Patient Area - Male Fertiltiy Lab 

Diagnostic semen analysis

Male factor infertility is a common phenomenon affecting approximately 50% of all subfertile couples. The diagnostic semen analysis examines several parameters to allow us to judge the quality of a semen sample. It looks at the sperm count (number of sperm), motility (how well the sperm are moving) and normal forms (how the sperm are shaped). These are all factors that if they fall below certain levels could have an impact on how long it takes to achieve a pregnancy or whether it is possible to conceive a child naturally.

We have a team of Clinical Embryologists who are fully qualified in all aspects of semen analysis and can liaise with GPs and Consultants, ensuring high quality advice is available to patients.

Patient instructions

Request card

  • A referral/request card must be obtained from your GP or Consultant along with a sterile, semen specimen pot. The card should be fully completed and contain the name, health surgery and signature of the Doctor requesting the test and also the patients name, date of birth and NHS number.
  • Please record the number of days abstinence and whether or not the complete sample was collected, on the card.
  • Andrology staff reserve the right not to accept samples with incomplete request cards. It is essential that correct identification of the patient and GP can be made for confidentiality reasons.

Producing the sample

  • Intercourse or ANY sexual activity should be avoided for 2 days (not more than 7).
  • Your name and date of birth must be clearly written on the container.

  • In order to collect a clean sample, the patient should pass urine and then wash and rinse his hands, nails and penis before ejaculating into the specified container. 

  • The sample should be obtained by masturbation into the sterile container provided. Do not use a condom or lubricant.  The complete sample is required. Ensure the pot is properly closed to avoid leakage and placed within the sample bag. 

  • The sample should be protected from extremes of temperature and kept as close to body temperature as possible.

  • The sample should preferably be delivered by the patient.

  • The sample should be delivered between 8:30am and 2.00pm on Monday, Wednesday or Friday (excluding bank holidays).

  • Samples taken to the wrong department, received outside of opening hours, over 60 minutes since production or without a fully labelled referral card or container will NOT be processed. Your NHS number must be recorded on the card.

Test results

  • Results will be provided to your GP/Consultant within 5 working days.
  • The results of the test will be sent to the named GP/Consultant from the referral card.
  • Results can not be given over the telephone.

Problems

  • If your GP has not received your results there may be a common explanation:
  • Sufficient time has not passed for the sample to be processed and results inputted on to the computer system/sent out (please allow at least 5 working days).
  • We did not have the name of your GP/Surgery on your request card or your details were not fully completed. A quick telephone call can rectify this problem.
  • Sometimes samples are classified as “unsuitable” for analysis. Your GP will be notified of this. Common reasons for not processing the sample include; the sample leaking from the container or the sample arriving at the unit after 60 minutes of production or outside of opening hours.

Repeat tests

If the sample has been classified as unsuitable for analysis your GP will be informed. You will be required to collect a new referral card and container and bring in a new sample for analysis. Occasionally if the parameters of the sample are lower than expected or further confirmation of the result is needed the GP may suggest you bring in another sample for a repeat analysis.

Interpretation

Please see your doctor to receive test results and interpretation.

Post-vasectomy semen analysis

Vasectomy can be regarded as one of the safest and most effective forms of birth control, however it is important that post operative instructions are followed very carefully. Evidence has shown that immediately following vasectomy, virtually all ejaculates will contain potentially fertile sperm. It is therefore essential that contraception should be continued until your consultant advises otherwise. The British Andrology Society (BAS) recommends that initial assessment of an ejaculate should take place 12 weeks post vasectomy and after at production of at least 20 ejaculates. Clearance should be given by your consultant after the production of two consecutive, sperm free ejaculates. These samples should be two to four weeks apart.

Patient instructions

Collection of the sample

  • You should have been given two completed request/referral cards, sterile specimen pots and bags by your consultant. Please ensure all your details are completed on both the card and specimen pot.

  • It is recommended that you should have at least 2 days abstinence (sexual activity), but no more that 7 days.

  • In order to collect a clean sample, the patient should pass urine and then wash and rinse his hands, nails and penis before ejaculating into the specified container. 

  • The sample should be obtained by masturbation and ejaculated into the specimen pot. Do not use a condom or lubricant. The complete sample is required. Ensure the pot is properly closed to avoid leakage.

  • The sample should preferably be delivered by the patient.

  • The sample should be delivered between 8:30am and 2.00pm on Monday, Wednesday or Friday (excluding bank holidays)

  • Andrology staff reserve the right not to accept samples with incomplete request cards. It is essential that correct identification of the patient and GP can be made for confidentiality reasons.

Test Results

  • The results of each analysis will be sent to your consultant within 5 working days of the analysis.
  • Results must be provided by your GP/Consultant and will not be given out by the Andrology Unit.

Repeat tests

  • If your two semen samples are not completely free of sperm your consultant should advise you to bring further samples for analysis. You should use contraception until your consultant advises otherwise.
  • In some cases there may have been a problem with one of the initial samples and you may require a repeat analysis (details not on your pot/card, sample leaked etc).
  • If you consistently produce samples with sperm present your consultant may advise you to bring your next sample directly to the Unit within one hour of production. This allows us to search for the presence of motile sperm. Please refer to the instructions for patients requiring a semen analysis.