Male infertility can be due to a variety of conditions, many, but not all, of which can be identified and treated.

In routine, male fertility diagnosis is done after evaluating different parameters:

  • count –the number of spermatozoa in the ejaculate
  • motility- percentage moving
  • morphology- percentage that are normal (shape)

Decreases in sperm concentration and sperm motility affect the motile sperm count, which reflects the ability to get a high concentration of sperm to the egg site to complete fertilisation. Sperm morphology is important because it too reflects upon the ability of the sperm to fertilise an egg.

If sperm abnormalities are observed in the “basic” semen analysis or if the couple is diagnosed with “unexplained” infertility, the workup should proceed to the analysis of sperm function test.

Sperm Penetration Assay: Sperm penetration tests check to see whether a man’s sperm can move through the cervical mucus.

Types of penetration test:

Sperm Mucus Penetration- this test is performed to help determine the ability of sperm to penetrate cervical mucus. It can be proven to be as good as semen analysis in assessing progressive sperm motility (movement).

When and why is a sperm penetration test done?

This test is performed in various scenarios, some of which are: When other tests cannot pinpoint or detect the cause for infertility:

  • To evaluate sperm function, when semen analysis shows abnormal morphology or slow movement
  • To test the sperm function and normality before in vitro fertilisation

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