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Male fertility testing

A man’s fertility primarily depends on the health of his sperm, so much of our testing centres on assessing the number and quality of sperm present in a man’s semen. We will also assess your partner’s fertility, so we have a complete picture of how we can best help you as a couple.

Semen (sperm) analysis

The primary fertility test for males is a semen analysis. A standard semen analysis includes assessment of:

  • Semen volume: The total amount of fluid ejaculated.  A very small volume may indicate problems with the tubes between the testicle and penis.
  • Sperm concentration and count: The amount of sperm in the fluid.  Low sperm concentration, or the complete absence of sperm, can predict difficulty in achieving a natural pregnancy.
  • Sperm motility: The ability of sperm to swim. High numbers of poorly moving sperm are predictive of difficulty achieving a natural pregnancy.
  • Sperm morphology: The shape of the sperm.  A normal sperm looks like a tadpole.  Sperm that have abnormally shaped tails may have difficulty reaching the egg, whilst sperm with abnormally shaped heads may not be capable of piercing the outer shell of the egg.

Additional testing that can be performed by our scientists at the time of semen analysis, when requested, include:

  • Sperm DNA fragmentation: Damage or fragmentation of sperm DNA reduces the possibility the sperm will successfully fertilise the egg.
  • Presence of sperm antibodies (ASA): If sperm antibodies are present in high numbers, your immune system is literally attacking and undermining sperm function.

If the semen analysis shows significant abnormalities that will make a natural pregnancy difficult, a second semen analysis is always performed to rule out a temporary interruption to quality sperm production, e.g. due to illness.

If the semen analysis persistently falls outside the normal range, your specialist will assess you for any treatable and reversible conditions.  This will often include blood tests to check for possible genetic and hormonal causes, as well as an ultrasound.

Based on the results of your tests, your specialist will discuss available treatment options with you. This may include IUI, IVF and/or other techniques such as intracyctoplasmic sperm injection (ICSI) or sperm freezing.

If you are diagnosed with azoospermia (i.e. a complete absence of sperm in the semen) and no treatable cause can be identified, a testicular biopsy (see below) may be offered to assess for the presence of any retrievable sperm for use with assisted conception techniques.

Our world-class testing facilities

For your convenience, we conduct all our semen analyses on-site at the Newlife IVF Andrology Laboratory in Box Hill. Our semen analysis facility meets the World Health Organisation’s 5th edition standards, reflecting the latest recommended testing criteria. We are also one of only a few providers in Victoria able to offer DNA fragmentation testing.

How to arrange a semen analysis

Our semen analysis service is not only available to Newlife IVF patients, but also to patients referred from their GP who are not directly involved with our other fertility services. A referral from your GP (or specialist) is required to access Medicare benefits for semen analysis.  We accept referrals on any provider’s form. For convenience, we recommend your doctor use this form.

Collection instructions for semen analysis

You have the option of producing your sample in our discreet on-site facility at our Box Hill treatment centre or at home:

FOR ON-SITE COLLECTION (RECOMMENDED)

Semen analysis is best performed when the semen sample is produced on-site, so it can be immediately assessed by our scientists. For maximum convenience, semen analysis is performed by appointment only.  To make an appointment, call Newlife IVF on (03) 8080 8933.  When you arrive for your appointment, you will be discreetly escorted to our private on-site facility. You will be given detailed instructions, then left alone to produce your sample. In the meantime, you may like to review the sample production instructions provided below.

FOR HOME COLLECTION 

If you choose to produce your sample at home, you must be able to deliver it to the Newlife IVF Andrology Laboratory in Box Hill within one hour for analysis. To arrange a drop-off time, please call Newlife IVF on (03) 8080 8933. You will also need to collect a 70mL sterile specimen jar from your referring doctor or a pharmacy. To produce your sample, follow the instructions provided below.

SAMPLE PRODUCTION INSTRUCTIONS
    • Ensure Page 1 of the ‘semen analysis request form‘ has been completed by your referring doctor.
    • Avoid intercourse or masturbation for 2-5 days before the scheduled semen analysis.
    • Write your full name, date of birth and date of sample on your specimen jar.
    • Do not touch the inside of the specimen jar, nor the inside of the lid.
    • Do not use lubricants or a condom. Interrupted sex is not recommended.
    • Ejaculate into the specimen jar, then replace the lid firmly.
    • Do not allow the sample to come into contact with water.
    • Complete the information at the bottom of Page 2 of the ‘semen analysis request form‘, then hand this form and your sample in at the Newlife IVF reception desk.

Fees for semen analysis

Fees are payable on the day of sample production. Bulk billing is not available. Fees shown below are correct as of October 2019, and represent the total out-of-pocket cost to patients, once any Medicare rebates have been applied.

Semen analysis $89.00
Semen analysis and DNA fragmentation $321.00
Semen analysis and ASA $151.00
Semen analysis with DNA fragmentation and ASA $372.00
Semen analysis and sperm freezing $450.00
Sperm DNA fragmentation test only $259.00
Sperm freezing only (includes 6 months’ storage) $395.00

 

Testicular biopsy for diagnosis and/or sperm retrieval

In the event that there is persistently no sperm present in a series of semen samples, a diagnostic testicular biopsy can be used to assess if sperm can be found within the testicle or surrounding structures. This allows for planning of future treatment. If sperm is found, it can be frozen, or reliably extracted at a later date to fertilise eggs by ICSI.

More information on testicular sperm retrieval for use with assisted conception techniques can be found here.

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For more information, please call (03) 8080 8933 or complete the below form to request a callback.

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