How Is Sperm Count Testing Done?
Sperm count testing is done as one of the most basic parts of a fertility workup that a couple will go through when they see a fertility specialist. In addition, the fertility specialist will also very likely do an FSH test of the woman to verify that she has not already entered menopause, and a test to verify that her fallopian tubes are not blocked. The sperm count testing that is done actually tests the sperm for other things as well. The test looks at the motility of the sperm, which is the percentage of sperm that are moving forward. It also looks at the sperm themselves, to see if they are abnormal in their composition.
The semen analysis of which the sperm count testing is a part, does have some preparation. You should avoid sexual activity of any sort, including masturbation, for somewhere between 2 to 5 days prior to the semen analysis. Your health care provider can give you specifics as to how many days you should avoid ejaculation. This is done so that your sperm count will be at its highest level, and that the test will be as accurate as possible. You should not avoid sexual activity for more than a week or two prior to the test, however, because a longer period of inactivity can leave you having actually less sperm. It is also likely that you will be asked to avoid alcohol for several days before the sperm count testing.
Sperm count testing is done, simply, by having the man ejaculate and then the semen being analyzed in a lab. In some cases, a man may be asked to ejaculate at the office in a private room. In other cases, it is usually acceptable for a man to ejaculate at home into a specific container and then to bring it into the lab or into the fertility clinic at another time. Obviously, your fertility specialist will give you specific instructions as to how the ejaculated semen should be brought in for sperm count testing.