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.

Using semen (sperm) analysis to assess male fertility

The primary test used to assess male fertility is a semen analysis. A standard semen analysis includes assessment of:

  • Semen volume: This represents 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 is known as the sperm count. Low sperm count and concentration, or the complete absence of sperm, can predict difficulty in achieving a natural pregnancy.
  • Sperm motility: This part of the sperm analysis assesses the ability of your sperm to swim. High numbers of poorly moving sperm are predictive of difficulty achieving a natural pregnancy.
  • Sperm morphology: The focus during this part of the sperm analysis is the shape of your 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.

Other sperm tests

When requested, additional testing can be performed on a male’s sperm by our scientists at the time of semen analysis. These tests include:

  • Sperm DNA fragmentation: This test looks for damage to the DNA within the sperm. Damage or fragmentation of sperm DNA reduces the possibility the sperm will successfully fertilise an egg.
  • Presence of sperm antibodies (ASA): This test looks for antibodies that destroy male sperm. If sperm antibodies are present in high numbers in your semen analysis, your immune system is literally attacking and undermining sperm function.

If the semen analysis and other sperm tests show 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. acute illnesses such as viruses may temporarily affect male fertility.

If the semen analysis results persistently fall 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 semen analysis and other 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), intracytoplasmic morphologically selected sperm injection (IMSI) 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 in Melbourne

For your convenience, we conduct all our semen analyses and male sperm testing on-site at the Newlife IVF Andrology Laboratory in Box Hill, Melbourne. Our semen analysis facility meets the World Health Organisation’s 6th 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 and testing. 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 (USUALLY RECOMMENDED BUT HOME COLLECTION CURRENTLY PREFERRED DUE TO RISKS IMPOSED BY COVID-19 PANDEMIC)

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 (RECOMMENDED DURING COVID-19 PANDEMIC)

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 semen analysis and testing. 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 into which you will need to place your sample. To produce your sperm sample, please 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.
A green graphic representing an embryo

Fees for semen analysis and sperm testing

Fees are payable on the day of sample production. Bulk billing is not available.

Treatment cycle Estimated out-of-pocket costs (once Medicare rebate applied)*
Semen analysis $97.00
Semen analysis and DNA fragmentation $349.00
Semen analysis and ASA $164.00
Semen analysis with DNA fragmentation and ASA $403.00
Semen analysis and sperm freezing $488.00
Sperm DNA fragmentation test only $281.00
Sperm freezing only (includes 6 months’ storage) $459.00
*Fees correct as of 1 February 2022; and represent the total out-of-pocket cost to patients.

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.

Read more information on testicular sperm retrieval for use with assisted conception techniques.

Fertile thinking

A place to learn, grow and share

Get in touch

For more information or to book an appointment with one of our fertility doctors, please call (03) 8080 8933 or email [email protected]. Fertility appointments can also be booked via our online booking page.

Our three Melbourne clinics are based in Box Hill, Clayton and East Melbourne and are open Monday–Friday: 8:00am–5:00pm. We welcome patients from all over Victoria, as well as those seeking care interstate or internationally. All fertility treatment requiring day surgery or lab access (e.g. egg collection, embryo transfer) will take place at our state-of-the-art treatment centre in Box Hill. Fertility consultations and IVF cycle monitoring can be arranged at all three Melbourne clinics.

To request a callback, please complete the form below.

Complete form

    *Mandatory fields

    This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.