Friday, June 27, 2008

A Blog Post for the Men

Jen Hamilton, Lab Manager

Oftentimes the coordinators at RHS get the infamous question: “Why do I have to collect my semen sample in the office and not at home?”

Since we, at RHS, deal with this issue on a daily basis we sometimes tend to forget the embarrassment or awkwardness that our male patients may feel about coming into the office for such an appointment. But there are several reasons that we ask that our male patients collect in the office and one of those reasons is not to torture you!

The only way to check a male for infertility is to collect semen for evaluation. Your semen sample provides valuable other information rather than just a sperm count. Multiple characteristics are studied such as ejaculate volumes, motility, and the ability of the sperm to swim forward. We also have the ability to do additional testing on the semen sample to further complete the diagnosis.

Since sperm motility is highly sensitive to alterations of time and temperature we ask that this semen sample be collected in our collection rooms near the laboratory. This is the main reason that we ask that you collect your semen sample in the office. As a rule, the semen sample is analyzed within one hour of collection. The interval between sample collection and analysis should be as short as possible since motility declines with time. This is especially crucial if the specimen has a low motility to begin with. Also, if further tests of sperm function are to be performed it is critical that the spermatozoa be separated from the seminal plasma within one hour of ejaculation. We also prefer that you collect in the office for identification purposes. We must photo ID you at the time we check you into the collection rooms. We have a big responsibility to ensure that we have the right semen specimen from the right patient at all times. This is another reason that we ask that you collect your specimen in the office.

So, even though you may have anxiety or embarrassment of collecting your semen sample in the office we can assure you that you are not alone. Many of our male patients feel this way! Please remember that you are always welcome to bring any materials from home which may help you during the collection process.

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