How is sperm quality assessed?

Based on the standard values established by the World Health Organization (WHO), a sperm count above 15 million/ml falls within what is considered as the “normal” range; however, these values are not necessarily a guarantee of fertility.

To check whether a person’s sperm is “healthy”, it is necessary to carry out some individualised tests, taking into account other constants such as motility, morphology, volume, pH, etc. The presence of infections and other diseases or genetic defects should also be ruled out. Therefore, such tests should always be performed by a professional.

The problem is that most men are averse to getting themselves checked out. However, and contrary to popular belief, a basic fertility assessment merely involves a series of very simple tests. In general, initial assessments simply involve a physical examination and a semen sample for sperm analysis (with one or two seminograms).

Equipped with this information and the patient’s clinical history, experts can determine whether a more comprehensive andrological study is required, which includes other tests such as a semen culture to rule out infections, blood tests to determine the level of certain hormones, or a testicular biopsy to study spermatogenesis and possible alterations thereof. If there is a family history of hereditary diseases, genetic testing may also be indicated.

A couple of years ago, the Dexeus Mujer clinic set up a special unit dedicated to the diagnosis and treatment of problems specific to male fertility and sexual health.