Specimen Collection Protocol
The following protocol should be followed prior to your appointment for banking or other fertility testing.
- Abstinence from an ejaculation should be approximately three days (72 hours) but should be no longer than 1 week since your last ejaculate. If banking is due to illness don't worry about prolonged periods of abstinence.
- Refrain from alcohol consumption for at least 48 hours.
- Avoidance of over- the- counter cold medications or antihistamines is recommended due to their effects on the viscosity of the specimen. If any or both of these medications have been taken on a long-term basis, discontinuing 48 hours prior to your appointment may not be effective. A normal semen specimen is very thick or viscous when it is first collected. It will usually liquefy within 30 minutes after it is collected. Specimens that remain thick and gelatinous are said to have an increased viscosity. Usually specimens that have an increased viscosity are difficult to analyze and do not survive the freezing process as well.
- If increased viscosity is a known problem for a client, he should increase his fluid intake. Drinking water and/or fruit juices especially pineapple juice or fresh pineapple has been known to help. Sodas, coffee, tea and alcoholic beverages will not help to reduce viscosity and in many cases can increase the viscosity of the specimen.
- If possible avoid use of muscle relaxants or prescription pain medications for at least 48 hours prior to your appointment. Narcotic type pain medications cause the sperm to move very slow and lethargically. Sperm that are in this condition usually don't survive the freezing process as well. Aspirin, Acetaminophen, Ibuprofen or other over-the-counter pain medications are fine. Check with your physician before changing medications.
- It is advised that the client collect his specimen at our office. Transporting the specimen from another location can greatly affect the quality of the specimen. If this is not possible, special transport instructions must be followed. The specimen being transported from another location must be kept at body temperature avoiding hot or cold fluctuations. Ideally transportation of the specimen should be by placing the specimen container inside clothing, next to the body. Transportation should take no longer than 30 minutes if possible. Specimen must be collected in a sterile specimen container.
- The specimen should be collected by masturbation. Other ways of collection can affect the quality of the specimen. If there is a problem collecting the specimen by masturbation, a seminal collection device (SCD) can be provided with instructions for proper usage.
- Lubricants should not be used when collecting a specimen. This includes saliva. It is important to try to collect the entire ejaculate. Ninety percent of the sperm are in the very first part of the ejaculate.