Beyond good looks, strong physique and numerous girlfriends, many people believe that the true measure of manhood is the ability to procreate. This manly ability can always be tested with a sex partner, but such pleasurable option may not be the best method especially if one does not intend to be a father very soon. A much better alternative will be the sperm test.
What is the test about?
Sperm test examines the number or concentration of sperms present in the ejaculated semen, their motility and their capability to induce pregnancy. This type of test is typically done to identify if the male is the problematic one in cases of unsuccessful pregnancies. This test may also be done to check the efficiency of male sterility procedures such as vasectomy.
How is the test done?
The test usually involves around 2 to 6 milliliters of semen. Sample collection is typically done by ejaculating towards a clean container after masturbation. Alternative means of sample procurement include the use of a specialize condom called collection condom, withdrawal while reaching sexual climax and directly obtaining semen from the epididymis.
The test may be down through microscopy, wherein analysis involves viewing the sample under a microscope. Motility can be quickly judged by visual inspection, while sperm count/concentration can be determined by viewing sperms under an analysis grid and multiplying the counted sperm cells in specified squares by a certain factor. Alternatively, the test can be done with chips that require three semen samples not collected on the same day. These chips typically work by detecting a certain protein that distinguishes sperms from other cells.
How to interpret results
The World Health Organization (WHO) states that normal males have sperm concentration of greater than 15 million cells per milliliter. Other literature put the normal number at 20 million cells per milliliter. Values lower than the mentioned standard implies a very high possibility of male infertility. Absence of sperm in the sample is called azoospermia, while oligozoospermia describes a low sperm count or concentration.
Aside from sperm count or concentration, other important criteria are motility, vitality and morphology. Normal sperm motility or movement has a value of 50% measured during the span of 1 hour of collection. Vitality refers to the percentage of living sperm cells. Morphology refers to the shape of the sperm. Normally, a sperm cell has a smooth, oval head with a long tail connected to the distal part of the sperm head. A normal sperm count may be deemed useless if abnormality in motility, vitality or morphology is detected.
Is there any sperm test for home use?
For men who strongly desire to answer the fertility question on their own, it is great news that there are already available user-friendly sperm test kits in the online and local markets. A number of these tests automatically estimate the sperm count after enough semen samples are submitted. On the other hand, there are also at-home tests that allow the user to perform some microscopy and see for themselves the motility, viability and appearance of their sperms.
What must be done if an abnormality is detected?
If abnormal concentration, count, motility, vitality and/or morphology is observed, you may opt to perform another confirmatory test to be performed by trained laboratory technicians. You may also ask a doctor specializing in sexual health for recommendations about your possible issue.