Frequently Asked Questions
If a male patient has suspected subfertility then an Andrology specific request card can be completed to request an ‘Infertility’ test. This will offer the specific tests required for preliminary investigation. Upon request we carryout more specialist infertility tests including tests for anti-sperm antibodies and vitality for example in the cases of a vasectomy reversal.
If the patient has had a vasectomy then they can be referred for a ‘Post-Vasectomy Semen Analysis’. This will look for the presence or absence of spermatozoa in a semen sample.
Please do not refer a patient to the Andrology unit for specialist seminal fluid investigations such as haematospermia or culture and sensitivity testing.
Please see the Andrology User Guide for further information on testing and referral.
Advice can be sort from the team of HCPC Registered Clinical Scientists at the Hull IVF Unit between the hours of 8am – 4pm Monday to Friday by telephoning 01482 382648.
The Hull Andrology Unit provides preliminary investigations for male sub fertility problems and post-vasectomy analysis. A patient can be referred for semen evaluation when his partner is of reproductive age and has not conceived after one year of unprotected vaginal intercourse, in the absence of any known course of infertility. An earlier referral for semen evaluation should be offered when his partner is aged 36 years or over and/or there is a known clinical cause of infertility and/or a history of predisposing factors for infertility.
"GP/Patient Question" - I have received the results of a semen sample, why has it not met the acceptance criteria?
There are certain criteria that need to be met in order to ensure unequivocal identification of the patient, the test requested can be identified and that the reportable results are accurate. If the request card details or patient information or sample parameters have not met these criteria then it may influence the patient’s results and therefore provide incorrect clinical information which could influence the patient’s treatment pathway. The acceptance criteria are detailed in the Andrology User Guide and at all points should be met in order to ensure the test will be carried out and a report issued.
Your sample will be disposed of as soon as the analysis is complete unless you have given your consent for the sample to be used for training. Once training is complete your sample will be disposed.
If you do not produce any/very few sperm by ejaculation and it is suspected that you produce a retrograde sample, this means that when you ejaculate the semen goes into your urine. You will be asked to masturbate and then produce a urine sample to see if there are any sperm in the urine. This is a special infertility assessment appointment and you must have an appropriate referral and book an appointment with our IVF Unit to have these samples analysed.
A number of factors can affect the result of your semen evaluation when examined for fertility. For example:
- The time from production to analysis (should be less than 60 minutes).
- The incorrect sample pot.
- Incorrect number of days abstinence (should be between 2-7 days).
- An incomplete sample.
"Patient Question" - Do I need to book an appointment for a semen analysis or post vasectomy analysis?
There is an option to book a sample drop-off appointment online via www.hullivf.org.uk/bookings in order to secure a time slot. However, you are also able to drop off a sample for analysis during our opening times.
Once you have a completed referral card and sterile pot from your GP, you must produce the sample at home and bring it to the Andrology lab within one hour. The sample will only be accepted during opening hours. Samples for post-vasectomy semen analysis are recommended to be examined within 4 hours of production. If the post-vasectomy semen analysis is to check for sperm motility, the sample needs to be examined within 1 hour of production.
The hour guideline is there to produce optimal and accurate results of the semen analysis. If you are bringing in a sample for a post vasectomy semen analysis you should bring the sample within approximately 4 hours.
A room is available for booking should you be unable to deliver a fertility sample within an hour. The room can be booked via the online booking system at www.hullivf.org.uk/bookings or by calling The Hull IVF Unit.
Results can only be given by the referring GP/consultant and will not be given by the Andrology department. You should allow at least a week for the results to be put on the electronic system. Results may take longer if the GP requires a paper copy.
Abstinence from sexual activity should occur for 2 days prior to the analysis, but not longer than 7 days. Research has shown that between 2 and 7 days gives an overall optimal value for sperm count and motility parameters combined.
Please keep in mind that an abstinence period of 2 days must be a minimum of 48 hours (2 full days) for the results of your semen analysis to be interpreted appropriately.
For example, if the last time you ejaculated was at 9 pm on Saturday, on Monday at 9:00 your abstinence period would only be 36 hours. We would next be open on Wednesday, when your abstinence period would be 3-4 days, well within the recommended 2-7 days.
There are several reasons a repeat may be required:
- Sample arrived outside of laboratory hours and could not be processed.
- Sample leaked from pot and not suitable for analysis.
- Sample arrived at unit greater than 90 minutes after production.
- Confirmation of a semen analysis result.
- The analysis has shown a low/unexpected result.
A repeat sample may be required and show a different result:
Every measurement will be subject to a margin of doubt. For example, a patient may attend for semen analysis and have a sperm concentration of 15 M/ml and then attend for a repeat evaluation and attain a result of 17 M/ml. Approximately, a 10% difference may be expected when comparing two successive semen evaluations for concentration or motility.
"Patient Question" - I have had a vasectomy reversal and have been asked to book an appointment for semen analysis? Why can’t I drop the sample off in the normal opening hours?
Routinely an extra specialised test (anti-sperm antibody test) will be requested if you have recently undergone a reversal. This will look to see if your semen sample has the presence of antibodies. Antibodies can cause problems with the sperm motility and their fertilisation capacity after a certain amount of time. For this test it is essential that the sample is examined quickly after production. We therefore ask you to book an appointment (usually on a Thursday morning) to produce the sample at the unit, allowing rapid evaluation by calling the IVF unit on 01482 382648.
"Patient Question" - I have had a vasectomy, why do I have to wait 12 weeks and produce 20 ejaculations before bringing in a sample for analysis?
It is very important to follow instructions and recommendations. Based on current Best Practice Guidelines, if you bring in a sample earlier than the 12 week and 20 ejaculations it is likely to provide inconclusive results and lead to the need for extra samples for assessment. However, you should follow instructions given to you by your Clinician for testing and clearance.
"Patient Question" - I have been informed there was a problem with my semen analysis and have been referred to a specialist. What does this mean?
There are a number of reasons you may have been referred elsewhere and does not necessarily mean you can not have children:
- If you have a low sperm count or associated problems you may be referred to an urologist. An urologist will examine you and take blood tests to see if there is anything that can be done to improve your semen sample. In a small number of cases it is found that there is an absence of sperm. An urologist can sometimes suggest surgical procedures to obtain sperm.
- In some cases where you and your partner have been having fertility tests, you may both be referred to the subfertility clinic/ IVF unit for further investigations/care.
Page Last Modified: 15th November 2017