The name is deceptively simple: semen analysis. It's more or less what it sounds like, a noninvasive procedure that measures a slew of qualities unique to an individual's spermatozoa.
But what a semen analysis measures and exactly how that information is applied to a man's situation is where the nuance begins.
"The semen analysis serves as a baseline assessment of a man starting fertility [evaluation] and whether a pregnancy is most likely through natural means or through advanced reproductive treatment like in vitro fertilization," said Russel Williams, M.D., a Houston-area reproductive urologist with the Y Factor, a multi-location urological wellness and fertility practice. "It can give an assessment of the presence of infection in a prostate. You can also get information as to whether there might be an obstruction of the ejaculatory ducts."
Not a single-purpose analysis
While semen analysis is most commonly requested for men experiencing infertility concerns, the test is applicable for