Semen Analysis FAQ

Semen Analysis

My partner has had a semen analysis in the last few months – is it necessary to repeat this test before coming to the clinic?

Many referring physicians will request a semen analysis in the course of testing for causes for infertility.  However, a second semen analysis with more specific testing may be required by your fertility doctor.

What can affect the quality of a sperm sample?

The use of drugs such as anabolic steroids, marijuana, tobacco products and other non-prescription drugs can reduce the quality of a sperm sample. Certain prescription medications, such as testosterone,  may also have an effect on sperm production. Please let your physician know what medications you have taken in the past, are taking or are planning to take in the future.

Is there anything that I can take to improve sperm quality?

There is some scientific evidence to support the use of antioxidants and certain amino acids, vitamins and minerals to improve sperm quality.  These formulations are specifically intended for males known to have poor sperm quality (number, movement or shape). The RFP Pharmacy, in conjunction with a vitamin manufacturer, has designed a product called “Nutraception”. These medications combines not only the recommended daily requirements of vitamins and minerals but also offers increased amount of antioxidants from Vitamin C, Zinc, Coenzyme Q10, Selenium, Vitamin B’s and acetyl-carnitine. The recommended dose is to take one package twice daily. Approximate cost is $85 per month. The clinic recommends trying to take the antioxidants for approximately 3 months and then doing a repeat semen analysis. Contact the RFP Pharmacy for more information.  Nutraception is available without a prescription.

Why do samples have to be produced at the laboratory?

Temperature variations can greatly affect the motility of sperm in a sample. This, combined with transport times to the laboratory, can adversely affect results of the semen analysis. Samples produced at the laboratory are immediately placed in temperature controlled incubators eliminating temperature fluctuations.

What if I am not able to produce a semen sample in the collection rooms at the laboratory?

Specially designed and private collection rooms are available at the semen laboratory. These rooms are equipped with men’s magazines and closed circuit TV’s to assist men with providing a semen sample. Men should let their physicians know if they have had a problem or anticipate a problem producing a sample. There are few things more stressful in IVF than when the male partner cannot produce a semen sample on the day of the egg retrieval. If a problem is anticipated it is very important that you freeze a sperm sample in advance of the IVF cycle that can be used as a backup if required.

Do I need to book an appointment and where is the laboratory located?

Yes, due to the processing time for semen analysis, appointments are scheduled between 07:30 and 11:00 Monday-Friday excluding statutory holidays. Please click here for information on how to schedule an appointment for your semen analysis including our online booking feature or contact the DSL directly at (403) 284-9410 for further information. Please bring the requisition form from your referring physician as well as your provincial health care card to your appointment.

The Diagnostic Semen Laboratory is a department of the Regional Fertility Program. The laboratory is located at Cambrian Centre, Suite 301, 2000 Veteran’s Place NW, Calgary, Alberta.