Examination of semen is essential to determine male fertility. This examination is done macroscopically and microscopically. The amount of semen produced and the quality of the semen give an indication of male fertility. Before collecting the semen for analysis, a man will have to abstain from an orgasm for at least three days, this avoiding an ejaculation for three days. This is necessary in order to build a sufficient amount of sperm for the analysis.

The semen must be collected in a sterile container (do not use an empty bottle). The sterile container will be provided at the laboratory where this examination will take place. Please note that the semen should not be collected in a condom and then be transferred into the jar. Within one hour after collection, the semen must be delivered to the laboratory, after which it is examined immediately, because the sperm cells die outside the body.  The lab technician will examine semen volume and the amount of sperm cells.  A normal ejaculation produces, a minimum of 2 ml sperm, which must contain at least 20 million sperm per ml. This is called a normal amount of semen.

The sperm is further examined for, its motility and shape. This happens under the microscope. The motility of the sperm cells is important because they have to travel a fairly long way into the body of the woman to eventually fertilize an egg cell. Sperm cells with an abnormal shape will have trouble reaching and fertilizing egg cells. If pregnancy does not occur, both partners, husband and wife, are examined to determine their fertility. For men a semen analysis is often the recommended method to help determine if the semen is viable enough to fertilize an egg. 

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