What can spermogram tell about men’s health?

Spermogram is a method of studying the ejaculate for evaluating the fertilizing capacity of male sperm. Spermogram shows not only the ability of a man to fertilize but also is an important method of diagnosing urological diseases.

Spermogram analysis shows the quantitative, qualitative and morphological parameters of sperm. The spermogram includes: physical parameters (volume, color, pH, viscosity, liquefaction rate), quantitative characteristics (the number of spermatozoa in 1 ml and in all ejaculate, mobility), as well as their morphology (content of normal forms, with pathology), presence of agglutination and cells of spermatogenesis, as well as the content of leukocytes, erythrocytes, the presence of mucus.


When is spermogram recommended?

Doctors recommend taking this test in the following cases:

  • When a couple cannot become pregnant throughout the year, to identify possible infertility in men;
  • When preparing for IVF;
  • If a man wants to test the ability to conceive;
  • As a diagnosis in diseases, for example, as varicocele or prostatitis.

How is spermogram done?

The material for research is collected by masturbation. You can bring the ejaculate in a sterile, hermetically sealed container, in the warmth (in the axilla or thermostat at body temperature), within an hour after the assay. Abstinence is a must for at least 4 days but not more than a week. At this time, the refusal of thermal procedures and alcohol take place as well. Spermogram should be done at least 2 weeks after taking antibiotics. Methods of semen research: phase-contrast microscopy, special staining for evaluation of morphology of spermatozoa.

What does the decoding of a spermogram mean?

  • Aspermia – absence of ejaculate,
  • Oligozoospermia – decrease in the number of spermatozoa in the ejaculate (less than 20 million in 1 ml),
  • azoospermia – absence of spermatozoa in the ejaculate,
  • cryptozoospermia – the presence of individual spermatozoa in the ejaculate after centrifugation,
  • asthenozoospermia – decreased motility of spermatozoa,
  • teratozoospermia – decrease in the content of spermatozoa of normal morphology.

What will spermogram show if everything is ok?

Normal indicators of spermogram analysis are when you have the following indicators:

  • Volume of ejaculate -2 ml or more;
  • The sperm concentration is at least 20 million / ml;
  • PH-7-8;
  • The total number of spermatozoa is 40 million or more;
  • The viability of male sex cells is not less than half of the total;
  • Sperm motility -50% or more, which are mobile forward or at least 25% rapidly moving forward (this is determined within an hour after ejaculation);
  • The morphology should be more than 14% of normal male male sex cells;
  • Antisperm antibodies should be less than half of the total number of spermatozoa that are detected by the methods of ImunnoBeat or MAR, possibly associated with ACAT;
  • The concentration of leukocytes should be 1 million / ml or more.

In the event that the parameters of the spermogram are normal, then, as a rule, the delivery of one analysis is sufficient.

How do viruses and bacteria affect the quality of sperm?

Viruses and bacteria can directly affect spermatozoa, leading to a change in their mobility. For example, it is known that Mycoplasma genitalium and Ureaplasma urealyticum, attached to the head and middle part of the spermatozoa, negatively affect not only their mobility, but also the ability to fertilize, conducted in experimental (in vitro) conditions.

The toxins produced by microorganisms can also have a detrimental effect. In response to the infectious process, secondary inflammatory damage develops, accompanied by the formation of free radicals and cytokines that can have a cytotoxic effect on the sex cells.

The mechanism of the formation of these antibodies against the background of the inflammatory process is the same ability of bacteria, viruses and fungi to attach to the membrane of spermatozoa, which triggers the autoimmune reactions. The presence of the antibodies in the ejaculate leads to a decrease in its qualitative and quantitative characteristics: a decrease in the concentration and mobility of spermatozoa, a change in the morphology of the sex cells, their agglutination, a change in the pH and viscosity of the seminal plasma.

What may the spermogram results show?

If the results differ from the norm, after 1-2 weeks it is necessary to sperm again and with the results obtained go to an andrologist to find the causes of the pathology. An exception is the suspicion of genital infections, in this case, treatment must begin immediately. For example, the effect of prostatitis on the spermogram is manifested in the mobility of spermatozoa.

Infectious and inflammatory diseases of the organs of the male reproductive system can be one of the possible reasons for the reduction of male fertility (the ability to reproduce the offspring), and the urogenital infections that cause them are to be associated with male infertility.

Infectious prostatitis (especially caused by sexually transmitted infections) has a major influence on sperm quality. The inflammatory process in the prostate reduces the mobility of spermatozoa, promotes their agglutination (gluing due to the presence of bacterial bodies on the surface, or products of their vital activity) and the formation of inferior forms (for example, a bad spermogram as a result of ureaplasmosis).

Why is it important to have spermogram periodically?

The analysis of spermogram, in the course of which the quantity and the most important properties of spermatozoa is established, is one of the main methods of diagnosing infertility in men. Bad results of the spermogram can, among other things, indicate the presence of infections and inflammations in the male body. Therefore, every sexually mature man is recommended to periodically take this analysis. The spermogram will show what exactly is wrong with male sperm, and on the basis of the results of the analysis the doctor will be able to prescribe the appropriate treatment.


This article was written by Dr. Breslin, a private certified urologist and Fellow of the American College of Surgeons, a former research fellow at the Harvard Institute, and the author of scientific articles related to urinary incontinence and bladder control.
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