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Infertility & Reproduction Health Center

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Semen Analysis


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Certain conditions may be linked with a low or absent sperm count. These conditions include orchitis, varicocele, Klinefelter syndrome, radiation treatment to the testicles, and diseases that can cause shrinking (atrophy) of the testicles (such as mumps).

If a low sperm count or a high percentage of abnormal sperm is found, more testing may be done. Other tests may include measuring hormones, such as testosterone, luteinizing hormone (LH), follicle-stimulating hormone (FSH), or prolactin. A small sample (biopsy) of the testicles may need to be checked if the sperm count or motility is extremely low.

What Affects the Test

You may not be able to have the test, or the results may not be helpful, if:

  • You take medicines such as cimetidine (Tagamet), male or female hormones (testosterone, estrogen), sulfasalazine, nitrofurantoin, or some chemotherapy medicines.
  • You use caffeine, alcohol, cocaine, marijuana, or tobacco.
  • You use herbal medicines, such as St. John's wort or high doses of echinacea.
  • Your semen sample gets cold. The sperm motility value will be low and not accurate if the semen sample gets cold.
  • You are exposed to radiation, some chemicals (such as certain pesticides or spermicides), or prolonged heat.
  • Your semen sample is incomplete. This is more common if a sample is collected by ways other than masturbation.
  • You have not ejaculated for several days. This may affect the semen volume.

WebMD Medical Reference from Healthwise

Last Updated: July 30, 2014
This information is not intended to replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise disclaims any liability for the decisions you make based on this information.
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