A standard semen analysis done from a regular pathology laboratory reports mainly motility and concentration of sperms seen in the provided semen sample.
One of the most important characteristics of sperm is it’s morphology. It takes a trained technician and appropriate equipment to comprehend the abnormality in morphology of sperms.
High end microscopes like the Phase Contrast Microscope make study of morphology easier and more predictable. Due to its high cost, not all labs have phase contrast microscopes and usually their availability is restricted to Infertility units and their Laboratories.
Insufficient magnification and contrast provides little data about the morphology of sperms, making the Semen Analysis done at regular Pathology services of little use when it comes to diagnosing infertility.
Advanced Semen Analysis includes study of Morphology and Vitality of sperms in the semen sample apart from the Concentration and Motility assessment. Since we use a high end Phase Contrast Microscope to analyse the semen sample, it leads to a more reliable and accurate assessment of all factors that can affect fertility.
As shown below, Phase Contrast Microscope gives much better visualization of Sperms making their assessment accurate.
Assessment of the following are done in the Semen Sample after it’s liquification:
The test usually takes about 2 hours to complete, however generation of report may take upto 3 to 4 hours.
In an Infertility Unit Setup, Andrology lab is usually handled by Embryology Team and Technicians who routinely perform Intracytoplasmic Sperm Injection (ICSI). Selection of sperms during ICSI , is one of the most important steps in ensuring proper fertilization of an oocyte. Hence all Embryologist’s are well versed at recognizing healthy sperms by looking at their Morphology and Motility Pattern.
Sperm samples are stored and analysed in an appropriate environment consisting of heating blocks, Incubators etc which keeps the sperms at the correct temperature therefore analysis becomes more accurate.
Sperm samples are processed within the required time frame as these labs are conversant with semen processing and recognize the importance of time of analysis and holding period. Other routine laboratories which process routine samples like blood and urine do not recognize the importance of timing etc. as these samples do not deteriorate over a period of time.
Also most Infertility Unit’s invest in a good Microscope like a Phase Contrast Microscope which makes the Analysis very reliable.