A comprehensive semen analysis is often needed for a fertility evaluation and includes all components of the basic semen analysis plus strict morphology, biochemical studies, and post-ejaculate urine evaluation.
Men can have a normal semen analysis yet still have impaired fertility due to DNA fragmentation. DNA is an organic molecule that consists of two strands of repeating building blocks called nucleotides. Each nucleotide consists of a sugar, a phosphate group, and a nitrogen base. The nucleotides in each strand are tightly bonded. The two strands however are loosely held together by weaker bonds. DNA fragmentation occurs when separations and breaks occur in these bonds. Increased DNA fragmentation can impair the transmission of this genetic code, disrupting the cell’s ability to function. For a sperm cell, DNA fragmentation can prevent fertilization or the proper development of an embryo if fertilization occurs. A DNA fragmentation assay can identify sperm with these defects and offer treatment options. The cost of this test includes a comprehensive semen analysis.