Semen Analysis

Semen AnalysisSemen analysis is carried out at Bray Women’s Health Centre by an expert embryologist. You can make an appointment for yourself directly or you can have your own doctor refer you. You will be asked to produce the sample at home and bring it with you to the clinic within an hour. We will send you full instructions when you make your appointment.

Male semen is composed of seminal fluid that contains motile ‘tadpole-like’ cells called sperm. After ejaculation in the vagina, sperm cells must leave the seminal fluid and enter the female’s cervix. From there they swim up through the uterus (womb) and enter the fallopian tubes where they will hopefully meet and fertilise an egg, which is the first step in pregnancy. To achieve this goal sperm must present in high numbers with good swimming ability.

Semen analysis is the standard test for the assessment of the quality of a male’s sperm. The test detects the most common causes of male factor infertility, particularly low sperm count or the complete absence of sperm cells. For semen analysis a semen sample is usually produced following 2 to 5 days of abstinence. The sperm are then assessed using a microscope and quantified. In addition to sperm count other parameters such as sperm motility (swimming ability of the sperm) and sperm morphology (shape) are assessed.

Semen analysis is a simple and accessible test that can help couples understand the reasons behind failure to conceive. It can also inform the treating doctor of the best course to follow with a view to achieving pregnancy. It is important that semen analysis is performed at the start of a couple’s fertility assessment so that the doctor has a complete picture of their fertility status and can guide the couple to the most effective treatment options. In addition, semen analysis is the most effective method of assessing the success of a vasectomy procedure.

We are fortunate to have a highly experienced embryologist to carry out semen analysis for us in our clinic:

Dr Robert DownerDr. Robert Downer is a clinical embryologist certified by the European Society of Human Reproduction and Embryology (ESHRE).  In 2002 he graduated from Trinity College Dublin with a PhD in microbial genetics where he studied the mechanisms by which certain bacteria cause human disease. Following graduation, Robert continued his research studies where he focused on developing rapid methods for detecting disease-causing bacteria in food. Following these studies, he joined one of the world’s largest FDA-regulated diagnostics companies. There he led teams that supported, improved and maintained several diagnostic products used by oncologists in the management of cancer particularly liver, testicular and breast cancer.  

Since 2010, Robert has held positions in a number of IVF clinics throughout Ireland including lead clinical embryologist, laboratory manager, quality management and clinic manager. He has a deep knowledge of the scientific techniques involved in reproductive medicine as well as vast experience in the quality, regulatory and compliance aspects of the IVF sector in Ireland. Robert has also provided training regarding the scientific techniques involved in reproductive medicine to medical students, GPs and medical professionals in hospitals. He has particular interest in the causes and treatment of male infertility and has presented research findings to the Irish Fertility Society (IFS).