Fertility Testing For Men
If you’ve been trying to get pregnant for a year, we recommend you go to see your GP. They might arrange for some simple tests to be carried out, or refer you straight to us.
In approximately 40% of couples there will be a combination of male and female factors leading to fertility difficulties, so it is important that both partners take part in investigatory tests.
Men will be asked to provide at least one sperm sample for analysis to find out if this is a factor contributing to a delay in conception. If abnormalities are found, further tests, including blood tests, may be required.
- Where can I provide my sample?
Samples need to be processed within one hour of production, therefore we ask you to consider the best place for you to provide your sample to us at Fertility Fusion within Wrightington Hospital.
If you think you live too far away to get your sample to us within one hour then we strongly recommend that you use one of our bespoke male rooms to produce your sample. The andrology staff will show you to the room when you attend for your appointment.
The male rooms are away from the main reception area in a quieter part of the unit. One of the rooms has a shower in it, and both rooms are wide enough to take a wheelchair.
Please note that if you require any “stimulatory” reading material to help you produce your sample you will need to bring it with you, please also note that there is limited internet connectivity at Fertility Fusion.
If you wish to use the shower, please let the Andrology staff know when you book your appointment and also when you arrive for your appointment. Please bring a towel and toiletries with you as we do not have these items available at the unit.
If you have opted to produce your sample at Fertility Fusion in one of our male rooms, please arrive at the unit at your appointment time. If you have opted to produce your sample at home, you should arrive at the unit as near to your appointment time as possible, with your sample.
If you are going to be more than 15 minutes late for your appointment, please call us on 01942 264226 and we will help to accommodate you.
- What do I need for my test?
- A request form
You will need a request form, as this provides the Andrology laboratory with essential information. It should state exactly what test you need and why. It should provide your identification details and it should also give details of who has asked for the test and where the results are to be returned to.
- A patient information leaflet
This will be provided to you by your clinician. Please read your information leaflet before booking your test.
- A semen analysis pot
This pot has a silver top and it has the weight of the pot written on the side in marker pen. All our pots are batch tested to ensure that they do not kill sperm. Please write your details on the pot using a pen. If you haven’t got a pot we have plenty of pots at the unit; you can call in for one if you wish or if you opt to produce your sample in one of our male rooms we can give you a pot when you attend. All of our Wigan Borough GPs have a supply of our pots, so they should be able to provide one for you if requested.
- A small sealable bag
This sealable bag is for you to place your semen analysis pot inside. It allows Andrology staff to view your sample pot through the clear bag without touching it.
- A dignity bag
This is usually a white paper bag. You can pop your bagged sample and your paperwork into the dignity bag for transportation. It is a good idea to keep your bagged sample in an inside pocket for transportation of your sample to Fertility Fusion; this ensures that your sample is kept at an ambient temperature (not too hot and not too cold).
- How do I collect my sample?
Follow the instructions on your information leaflet and collect your sample by masturbation directly into the semen analysis pot, ensuring the full sample goes into the pot.
Make sure your pot is labelled with your details, then put your sample container into a sealed plastic bag (do not put any paperwork in this bag). It is very important that you fill in the slip on the bottom of the request form, this information is essential.
The information, outlined below, will need noting on your leaflet or form. This information will appear on your semen analysis report, it tells your clinician if your sample has been collected properly and how reliable the results are likely to be.
If you haven’t followed the rules, your sample may not be processed. The report will state that the results are unreliable and you will probably be asked to repeat your test.
- Date and time that you collected your sample
It is important that we start analysing your sample within one hour from you producing it. Sperm motility is very time sensitive, sperm start to die off and lose motility after one hour.
- Abstinence from ejaculation
This means that you must refrain from any sexual activity which makes you orgasm for between two and seven days.
For example if your test is on Monday morning and you last ejaculated on the Friday evening you would be fine for testing on the Monday morning.
The reason for abstinence is that you need to give yourself adequate time after ejaculating, for your sperm numbers to recover. If you abstain for too long you will produce a sample with increased numbers of sperm in it, but the sperm will be degenerate as they will have been stored up for too long.
- Illnesses or medications
There are many things which can affect your semen analysis results, please list anything that you think should be noted.
Any illness where your body temperature is increased such as flu or Covid-19, will affect your results for around 6 weeks after the illness.
Some long standing illnesses or childhood surgery may be significant to your semen analysis results and are worth noting down e.g. diabetes or childhood surgery for undescended testicles.
Non-prescribed drugs such as anabolic steroids should also be noted as these drugs may well affect your semen analysis results. They should be noted even if it was some years since you last took them.
- How to Get Your Results
Andrology staff will inform you on how to get your results when you bring your sample. Your results will go back to the person who asked you to carry out the test. If this is your GP, the results will go back to the GP, usually within one week of your test; your GP may phone you with your results or you may have to make an appointment.
If your test has been requested by another clinic i.e. a post-vasectomy semen analysis to check for sterility following a vasectomy; your results will be sent to you through the post by your consultant. It can take up to four weeks for you to receive your post-vasectomy results through the post. Please contact your clinic if you experience a delay.
- Semen Analysis Post Vasectomy Testing (PVSA)
If you collect your sample properly, as outlined in your information leaflet and we don’t find any sperm in your sample; you will get the “all-clear” from just the one test. Your results will usually come through the post in writing from your consultant.
We recommend that you attend for Post Vasectomy Semen Analysis (PVSA) 20 weeks after your vasectomy. We recommend this timeframe because you have a much better chance of being clear on your first test.
We also recommend that you ejaculate at least twice a week from your operation to your test (at least 24 times in total). This is to flush old, residual sperm out of your system. These residual sperm can persist for up to two years; particularly in older gentlemen.
Approximately 25% of all our gentlemen have residual sperm present in their first test. You will need to do another test if you have any sperm present in your first test, this is why your clinic has given you a spare pot.
It is important that you read the instructions carefully on your information sheet (FF007) or the information sheet you have been given with your PVSA kit from your clinic.
For more details please read our information leaflet.