What is it?
Andrology laboratory is necessary for the collection and analysis of male reproductive fluid called semen from the male partners. It is also essential for performing certain procedures namely ICSI that is Intracytoplasmic Sperm Injection and other IVF procedures. The medical specialty that deals with men’s health including fertility issues of men is called Andrology. The Andrology Laboratory's staff collects and analizes semen specimens from male partners as well as the performance of the ICSI procedure. They also receive and prepare frozen partner and donor sperm from sperm banks.
Andrology laboratory is also useful in the storage of a partner as well as donor sperms obtained from sperm banks.
Collection and Analysis
- Semen samples are the basis for determining the main cause of infertility and other conditions related to the male reproductive system. In order to study the semen sample, it has to be collected first. The procedure for collecting semen sample differs on the basis of religion where a person finds it against his will to ejaculate into a cup by himself, in these cases a special kind of condom that stores the semen during sex is given out to the patient, after which the sperm sample is collected.
- Once the sperm sample is taken to the laboratory, it is viewed under the microscope to determine the following,
- The concentration of the sperm that is the sperm count which ranges from at least 15 million sperm per millimeter of semen.
- Motility that is the movement of the sperm in which normally 50% or more should be active.
- The morphology of the sperm which is the size and shape of individual sperm is examined in order to test the ability to fertilize an egg.
- The amount of semen provided as a sample, that is, the volume is also noted to make sure there is no blockage in the seminal vesicles.
- Chemical nature that is the pH level of the semen sample is examined to identify acidity. Normal PH level ranges from 7.1 to 8.0 any abnormality in the pH can affect the health of the sperm.
- Liquefaction time is the time required for the semen to turn liquid which normally takes 20 minutes as semen comes out of the body thick. Any difference in this could also affect the health of the sperm.
- If fructose levels are low or nil it could mean there is an obstruction in the seminal vesicles.
Intracytoplasmic sperm injection is a medical procedure where a healthy single sperm is injected directly into each mature egg. This ICSI procedure is normally performed when the sperm count or the quality of the sperm is affected and previous attempts for conceiving has failed.
Once the egg is fertilized, it is transferred back into the uterus of the mother to continue the development of the fetus.
ICSI is an IVF (In Vitro Fertilization) treatment method is done under the microscope as both the egg and the sperm as very delicate and very small.
A sperm bank is a facility which purchases and stores semen from male donors or male partners unable to conceive on their own. This is essential in IVF procedures or artificial insemination as it helps couples who undergo infertility to conceive and produce healthy babies.
Authored by Dr. Nirmal Krishnan