Reproductive Health Conditions

Female reproductive health

Some of the female reproductive health issues that we treat include:

  • birth defects of the reproductive tract
  • problems with puberty development
  • absent or irregular periods
  • abnormal hair growth
  • abnormal milk production
  • polycystic ovary syndrome
  • managing symptoms of menopause

Male reproductive health

The WVU Center for Reproductive Medicine provides comprehensive treatment for problems that men may experience. Some of the services we provide include:

  • semen analysis (detailed below)
  • hormone assays
  • post-vasectomy semen analysis
  • cryopreservation (freezing) of sperm
  • sperm preparation for assisted reproductive techniques
  • testicular biopsy for sperm extraction

Semen Analysis

The test is performed in the lab at the Center.

  • The specimen will be collected at home or in a special room within the clinic (preferred).
  • Prior to collection of the semen sample, observe at least two days, but not more than five days, of abstinence (i.e., no ejaculations).
  • Please wash hands thoroughly before collection.
  • Do not use lubricants or condoms, because they may contain substances that will kill or immobilize sperm.
  • Collect semen in a sterile specimen cup. Sterile cups are available at the Reproductive Endocrine Lab or from your doctor. Collect all of the ejaculate. If some or all of the semen is lost during collection or if you are unable to ejaculate, we will reschedule the test.
  • If you are collecting the specimen at home, take the specimen to the lab as soon as possible, but no later than one hour after collection. The specimen should be kept at body temperature during transport. This can be achieved by keeping the container next to your body in your clothing. If possible, you should deliver the sample yourself to confirm your identity and to sign a consent form. Write your name on the sample cup and bring your specimen along with your doctor’s orders to the Reproductive Endocrine Lab at the Center for Reproductive Medicine.
  • You do not need an appointment for a semen analysis. You may collect or deliver your sample during our working hours, which are: Monday-Friday from 8 am-noon and 1:30 – 3 pm, except for holidays.
  • All other procedures including sperm freezing, fructose, viability, and antibody testing require an appointment 24 hours in advance.

Semen evaluation

semenMicroscopic evaluation – To evaluate sperm concentration, motility, and morphology (shape), the specimen is examined under a microscope.

Concentration – A lack of sperm can mean you’re not producing sperm or it can mean obstruction or absence of the tube system responsible for transporting sperm. New technologies can help men with very low sperm counts to conceive children.

Motility – Active, healthy sperm move quickly in a straight, forward direction individually, not in clusters. Motility is a measure of how many and how well the sperm are moving. A four-point grading scale is used to describe the speed and direction of sperm progression. Sperm with poor forward progression (grade one or two) can have difficulty fertilizing an egg.

Morphology (shape) – Sperm are considered abnormal if any part of the structure deviates even slightly from rigid criteria. Abnormally shaped sperm can have problems with motility and fertilization.

  • Debris is common in low levels.
  • Round cells are typically either immature sperm cells or white blood cells, which in high numbers indicate trauma or infection.
  • Crystals are rare, but their presence is always abnormal. Uric acid crystals, which form kidney stones, are the most common.
  • Occasionally cells besides sperm are identified.

Visual examination – After semen collection, the specimen should liquefy quickly. Next, the specimen is transferred to a test tube for visual examination.

Volume – A lack of ejaculate can indicate retrograde ejaculation, a condition common in diabetics with neuropathy or absence or obstruction of portions of the reproductive tract.

Color – Urine can color semen yellow, and blood from trauma to the testes can color the semen pink, red, or brown. Semen is often clear if it contains no sperm.

pH – Altered pH can indicate inflammation within the reproductive tract or potential problems with accessory sex glands.

Viscosity – Viscosity (thickness of the specimen) is measured on a four-point scale. A thicker specimen (three or four) can impair transport of sperm in the female reproductive tract.

Gel clumps – The presence of gel clumps within the specimen is always abnormal and can cause inaccurate counts for sperm concentration.