Reviewed by William Blahd on April 19, 2016
Sheldon Marks, MD Urologist; Male Infertility Specialist, Prostate Cancer Specialist, Microsurgical Vasectomy Reversal Specialist, Tucson, AZ.
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Sheldon Marks, MD: Most men, when there are concerns about fertility, will be told to get a semen analysis. The problem with the semen analysis is it is not a measure of fertility. Rather, it is a measure of sperm production and sperm delivery. So a single semen analysis really does not mean everything's normal. It just means there's normal production, normal delivery of sperm. So it's important that if a man has concerns over fertility, he has at least two and probably three separate semen analyses, each one after three days of abstinence, each about six to eight weeks apart. And then, and only then, can you look at those numbers and you say, gee, here's what I think the problem is, or there's no problem.
Narrator: Why is that? Why do you have to go to such great lengths?
Sheldon Marks, MD: Because the sperm production is constantly changing and fluctuating, and if you just look at one semen analysis, that doesn't really tell you what's going on in the big picture. It's like looking at one or two frames of a one and a half hour movie. You might get a good idea as to what's going on. Obviously if you see a pirate in that frame, it's a pretty good guess it's a pirate movie, but you don't really know.