Thursday, January 13, 2011
Fun-a-day 13: Sperm Count
I hope I don't offend anyone with this post. It's truly not my intent, but after doing the fetal hemoglobin block, it's only natural to do a sperm block count next! So here it is! Actually a sperm count is only part of a "semen analysis" test. We also look at the motility (as a percentage) at different times after collection, volume, sperm morphology, and a few other factors. If infection is present, we certainly note that as well. When a couple is having problems becoming pregnant, it's usually the first test that a doctor orders, as it is an easy and noninvasive sample to obtain. Yes, it's embarrassing, but also the rich source of much comedic humor! It is also usually ordered after a vascectomy, and yes, I have seen sperm in a post-vascectomy sample, but only once that I can think of in my dozen or so years as a med tech.
When we look at the slide, we once again do a wet-prep, so there are no pretty colors, but I just couldn't help but make mine pink and blue, because it is, after all, the sperm that determine if a baby is a boy or girl. We do the exam on low power, so they look very tiny. I made mine a bit bigger than what we normally see. It never ceased to amaze me just how many there are in such a tiny drop (many millions per milliliter). On a slide, they have no clear "aim", so they swim in all different directions. Once again they really are a wonder to look at under the microscope!