Sperm-related tests

Sperm-related issues account for approximately 25% of couples with fertility issues. At Repromed we offer a range of different investigations and procedures.

Semen Analysis

A routine Semen Analysis (SA) is a simple procedure involving our scientists looking at the sperm within a ejaculated semen sample. SA is performed as the first line of investigations in a client’s fertility. There are four main parts to the analysis:

1. Concentration

This refers to the number of sperm within the sample per ml. The number of sperm will inform us if there is a likely male factor contributing to infertility.

2. Morphology

This refers to the appearance of individual sperm. Most sperm in the ejaculate will be abnormal in appearance. A normal sample is defined as having 4% or greater normal forms.

3. Motility

Refers to the movement of sperm. This is categorised into four levels; A – forward progressive, B – slow progressive, C – non-progressive, D – immotile. Normal samples are categorised as having a combined value of 32% or more grade A and B motile sperm.

4. Anti-sperm Antibodies (ASAB)

Occasionally the blood-testis barrier may be breached due to trauma or testicular torsion. If this happens the body recognises sperm as a foreign body and will start to produce antibodies to fight against them. If a sample tests positive for ASAB it can have detrimental effects over sperm function and reduce the chance of natural conception.

DNA Fragmentation Screening

DNA fragmentation screening is a test that looks at DNA damage, or fragmentation, within sperm heads. Increased DNA fragmentation of sperm has been linked to recurrent miscarriage and unexplained infertility.

What is sperm DNA fragmentation?

DNA is the hereditary material in humans that consists of two long polymers of simple units with backbones — DNA strands. The information in DNA is stored as a code made up of four types of molecules called bases, which are attached to the DNA strands. The order, or sequence, of these bases determines the information available for building and maintaining an organism. DNA fragmentation occurs when there is an alteration to the bases or a physical break in one or both of the DNA strands.

Causes of sperm DNA fragmentation

The main contributor to DNA fragmentation is the cumulative damage of free radicals not adequately neutralised by antioxidants, a phenomenon known as oxidative stress. Sperm DNA fragmentation is associated with drug use, cigarette smoking, exposure to environmental and occupational pollutants, advanced age, varicocele, elevated testicular temperature (laptop computers, hot tubs), and poor diet.

What is involved in DNA fragmentation screening?

This procedure involves the production of a fresh ejaculate sample at Repromed, which is then prepared and analysed to measure DNA fragmentation in individual sperm. 

More information about male fertility issues 

Sperm-related issues are common. In this ReproFacts sheet, you’ll find more information on the stats, how to interpret your Semen Analysis, what you can do to support healthy sperm, and where you can get further support and information.

Making an appointment and results

Our dedicated Andrology Laboratory is available by appointment only. Appointments are available Monday to Friday between 11am and 2pm. Additional Appointment times may be available upon request. To make an appointment, please get in touch with our Andrology Laboratory directly via phone or email. Results will be communicated to you in a letter via email within 5 – 10 business days following your appointment.

Get in touch 

If you have any questions, please get in touch with us. New clients can book a free 15 minute phone consultation with a fertility doctor. 

 

Megan Black

Nurse Manager

DipNurs

Megan leads the nursing team through the continually changing face of IVF. She works in a multidisciplinary team, providing the essential organization between the doctors and laboratory and ensuring communication between all departments.

Megan started her IVF nursing career in the United Kingdom, working in two large London clinic’s before returning to New Zealand. She is also the Secretary of Fertility Nurses of Australasia.

I love working with people and see nursing as a vocation, not a job. I usually spend my downtime absorbed in a good book and planning my next travel adventure.