The quality of the semen is the end product of a healthy body and reproductive system. Healthy sperm reflects a healthy amount of testosterone, a low degree of oxidation and an undamaged testicle.
As far as when to get a semen analysis, the decision is up to the couple, but here are some things to consider:
1. A semen analysis is fairly inexpensive and non-invasive, and can rule male factor infertility ‘in or out’ quickly.
2. There is no sense putting the female partner through a prolonged period of treatment without knowing if the male is also in need of treatment.
3. It takes 3 months of treatment to fully effect the sperm.
4. Men over 38 have a greater chance of oxidative decline of the sperm, although younger men can be effected as well.
5. Early or repeated miscarriage is possibly due to male factor.
6. Semen analysis tells you how the outside of the sperm looks. This tells you a lot, but you need a SCSA test to see the internal DNA quality.
The best way to have your semen analyzed is through a reproductive medical clinic. Your local HMO may not be able to run the complete tests, and may not have the most advanced equipment.
You don’t just want to get your sperm concentration and volume tested, you also want:
1. motility and forward progression
4. white blood cell count
And then you want to get this analyzed by a practitioner such as myself that specializes in reproductive medicine. Also, there is a different standard used for IVF treatment than natural fertility, and you probably prefer sperm healthy enough for natural pregnancy.
Once you know if there is an issue, there is a lot you can do to improve sperm quality.
Advanced tests for male factor infertility
Male Salivary Hormone Panel
This test is similar to the female version, except the guys only have to spit into tubes on one day! This test is helpful if your man is having trouble with sperm production, has low libido or energy, or signs of excess estrogen.
Adrenal Salivary Index
This test measures your levels of stress hormones throughout a one day cycle. It is helpful in finding the correct treatment for exhaustion, insomnia, anxiety or an-ovulation, to name a few.
If you can’t find a doctor to order this lab test for you, they are also available from ZRT Labs through Amazon.
This test is also an at-home kit which you mail back to the lab after collecting a stool sample. It can test for things like inflammation levels in the gut, food sensitivities, yeast and parasites.
Gut health is so central to our overall health, including our fertility. It’s where nutrient absorption takes place and where many beneficial hormones are produced. However if it’s leaky or infected, it can also be a source of autoimmune disease and/or a drain on your body that prevents your body from cycling properly.
My favorite lab for these tests is Diagnostechs. Again, this lab needs to be ordered through a practitioner.
Working with a practitioner that will use the above results, fertility lab tests for the woman, and work with you in a holistic manner can bring about excellent results. Getting to the root cause of the issue and working on healing the body is really important, so even if you use a very conventional doctor, it may also be helpful to seek care from a practitioner that can work with you on dietary and lifestyle changes in improve your chances on conception.