The Elephant in the Room: Semen Analysis
A few months after celebrating my sweet sixteen I found myself sitting in the doctor's office. Wearing a paper-thin gown and shivering from the chill of the cold examination table, I tried to make sense of my prognosis. The doctor didn't have an explanation for my irregular cycles and painful periods. She gave me a prescription for the pill and told me that IVF was my best option at ever getting pregnant.
I was SIXTEEN! I’d never heard of the term IVF and having kids wasn’t on my radar. I was trying to figure out why I felt so dang awful all the time.
Fast forward to the present day. I have three children. All conceived naturally. I’d love to meet up with that physician and have a little chat (let’s be real, it would likely be a soapbox rant).
Now, getting pregnant wasn’t exactly a walk in the park for me, but I didn’t have to resort to IVF. My experience in that cold sterile exam room is not unique to me. How often is the problematic assumption made that infertility is a female problem? Can we take a moment to explore the male contribution to the delicate dance of creating life?
It takes two to tango.
A study published in 2015 states that approximately 40-50% of all infertility cases are due to male factor infertility. This is likely a combination of low sperm concentration, poor sperm motility, or abnormal morphology.
When a couple goes through the difficult journey of infertility assessment, semen analysis should be at the top of the list. While it is common for doctors to order a semen analysis, the follow-through for couples is quite low. An article published in The Journal of Urology showed that approximately 50% of men did not submit the ordered semen specimens, even with written and verbal reminders.
Can we address the elephant in the room? Collecting a semen specimen is one of the most uncomfortable and embarrassing procedures I can think of. Who wants to go into a sterile clinical room, sit next to a table of porn magazines, and masturbate into a test tube?
Men, you deserve better.
It’s no wonder compliance is low. Not only is this an uncomfortable and dehumanizing setup, but many couples also have moral and ethical objections to traditional semen analysis collection.
But, semen analysis is essential to navigating infertility.
Ideally, couples could collect semen in real-time, during an act of intercourse, without the artificial pressure to fill up a test tube. A study cited in the international journal, Fertility & Sterility, shows that how a sample is collected actually matters. Ejaculate produced during intercourse is associated with higher semen volume, sperm count, and sperm motility than specimens collected via masturbation, thus painting a clearer picture of a man’s sperm health and fertility.
Here’s the good news. Actually, it’s really exciting news! Chart Your Cycle has partnered with Fellow, the only peer-reviewed, clinical semen analysis that you can do from home.
You can now have lab access in the convenience of your home and you’ll get quality and accurate results back within two days. Your test results come with a complete report and a twenty-minute consult with a Meet Fellow clinician for a confidential review of your analysis. Not only is this test accurate, convenient, and affordable, Chart Your Cycle will also provide you with a special perforated condom so you can collect your sample via intercourse.
This is a big deal. Here at Chart Your Cycle, we’ve always understood the importance of semen analysis in the initial stages of infertility assessment. Unfortunately, our only option was to recommend that our couples seek out their own testing. I’ve always felt the heaviness of giving my clients one more thing to do without a clear pathway to do the thing I’m asking them to do. My experience echoes what the literature states: compliance is low. Fellow has thought of every detail to make the uncomfortable task of semen collection as simple, comfortable, and straightforward as possible. We will drop ship your kit to your doorstep in a discreet package. Follow the instructions and return the package. Your at-home collection kit comes with a patent-pending Stabilization Technology, including a preservation solution that extends the life of your sample. Typically sperm cells start to die within a few hours outside of the human body. (Side note: this is why cervical mucus is so IMPORTANT when assessing overall fertility and baby-making). The fast degradation of sperm is one of the biggest challenges with at-home semen collection. It becomes a mad dash of getting the sample, keeping it at just the right temperature, and rushing off to the clinic to submit your vial. Stressful, to say the least. With Fellow’s preservation solution, the sperm’s lifespan is extended to up to fifty-two hours.
Using this simple at-home system, your sample is kept in optimal conditions so that few sperm die en route to the lab. In addition to the preservation solution, a special gel pack keeps your sample at just the right temperature, with a sensor to monitor temperature and humidity. Semen analysis has never been so easy and accurate.
Are you ready to take control of your infertility journey? Are you curious about the health of your man’s swimmers? If you answered yes, this affordable at-home semen analysis kit is for you.
A poor semen analysis workup is not a sentence to a life of infertility.
The great thing about sperm: they regenerate quickly. Unlike females who are born with an egg reserve, males start producing sperm when they hit puberty, around the age of twelve to fourteen and continue to produce sperm for the rest of their lifetime. Men produce sperm daily, and full sperm regeneration, known as spermatogenesis, takes about three months. Sperm health is impacted by lifestyle. Focusing on a healthy and balanced lifestyle goes a long way towards improving male fertility.
An accurate picture of semen quality paired with a woman's fifth vital sign, which is her well-charted menstrual cycle, creates a powerful roadmap to identify the individual healing opportunities for couples desiring to build their family. This information provides invaluable information for me as a Board Certified Health Coach and Neo Fertility Advisor. Creating a customized health-rebuilding plan to restore fertility begins with collecting and analysing the data. This is the approach we take inside of the Chart Your Cycle program. Test, don't guess.
Want more details? Click here to learn more!
Ready to take the first step? Order the Semen Analysis Kit!
Written by: Melissa Buchan, CYC Founder and Fertility Coach
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