Arizona Andrology Laboratory & Cryobank
Providing state-of-the-art male fertility testing, processing, cryopreservation, and storage

Gateway Wellness Center - 850 N. Kolb Road, Tucson, AZ 85710

Phone: 520-885-2689 - Fax: 520-731-0715

    

FAQ
    
Where is your laboratory located? 
Our address is 850 N. Kolb Road, Tucson, Arizona, 85750, at the Gateway Wellness Center. We are on the East side of Kolb Road. The building is located between a Luby's and Tony Roma's restaurant. If you need more specific instructions, just give us a call at 520-885-2689. 
 
Do I need an appointment for testing or procedures? 
Yes. In order to provide the highest quality of patient care, we ask that you call us at 520-885-2689 to schedule an appointment during our normal working hours of 8:30 to 4:30 PM Monday through Friday. For after-hours, weekends, holidays, or to reach us faster, just call 520-954-5228 to set up an appointment. We are available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. There will be an extra fee for "after-hours" test and procedures. Call for details. 
 
How do we collect the semen specimen? 
We have a separate room at the laboratory where the specimen can be collected in privacy. This is the best method since it allows us to look at the sample as quickly as possible. If you prefer, the sample can be collected at home as long as you can bring the sample to laboratory within one hour. Do NOT heat or chill the specimen -- just keep it at "room temperature" until it arrives at the laboratory. The semen sample needs to be collected after 2 to 3 days of sexual abstinence, with a minimum of lubrication, and into a sterile urine container. We will provide container's for free, or you can get one at almost any pharmacy of your choice. 
 
I have followed all the instructions for collection. Why is my sperm count still low? 
There are many reasons why your sperm count may be low. While the "normal range" is 20 million/ml or greater, it is may take up to 18 months or so for the sperm count to reach this level after a reversal, for example. For other patients factors such as genetics, previous disease/sickness, trauma, lifestyle habits such as smoking or drinking, surgery, medical treatments or exposure to environmental hazards can reduce your sperm count. It is best to make an appointment with a physician who specializes in infertility to be evaluated for a low sperm count. 
 
Why is my motility low? 
Even in perfectly normal semen samples, up to half of the sperm (50%) are not motile, so there is only a concern if the motility is less than 50%. The same factors that affect your count can affect your motility. Although a man is constantly producing sperm, the sperm only live or remain motile for 2 to 5 days. The motility may be low at first after a vasectomy reversal because there will be a lot of sperm that have been "trapped" for a long time and therefore are no longer motile. 

While it is important to follow up with an infertility specialist if your count, motility or other sperm numbers are low, do not get too discouraged if these numbers still remain low, even after treatments, medications, advice and time. Many couples have conceived a child naturally with very low sperm numbers after a reversal. There are several inexpensive procedures, such as a sperm wash with insemination (IUI) that can be done to boost up your chances of having a child after a reversal if the numbers stay low. IVF/ICSI procedures, while more expensive than IUI, only require about a dozen sperm, not millions, to achieve a pregnancy. 
 
Why is it important to have more than one semen analysis done?
All of the sperm parameters, including the count, motility, volume, and so on can vary greatly from one semen specimen to the next in a man. A single analysis is only a "snapshot" of a dynamic process in sperm production. It is best to get two or three semen analysis done to get a better picture of the sperm quality. 
 
How long after a vasectomy surgery does it take to "clear out" my semen sample?

It usually takes about a month to totally "clear out" a semen sample of sperm after a vasectomy surgery. The more times a man has an ejaculation after surgery, the faster the sperm will be cleared out. It is not unusual for 6 months or more to pass with some sperm still in the ejaculate, so it is very important to follow up with your post vasectomy semen counts. Two negatives (no sperm seen) in a row are required to call the sample as clear. However, there is a very small chance of a "spontaneous reconnection" of the vasectomy reversal since the body naturally tries to heal itself. Therefore, it is strongly recommended that a follow up semen analysis be checked again about 6 months after the "all clear" result is given. For patients that have a vasectomy done with Dr. Marks or Dr. Burrows, there is no charge for any of these "post vasectomy" semen analysis checks. 

 
After a vasectomy reversal, do I need to purge out bad sperm or can we start right away to have a child?
After you have abstained from sex for as long as your physician has advised for the reversal surgery to heal up, there is no need to wait any longer to starting having sex to have a child. In fact, the more ejaculations a man has after he has recovered from surgery, the faster the "old sperm" will be purged out and replaced by new sperm that are being constantly produced. While more sex is better to purge the old sperm, it is still important to make sure you are having sex as well during the time period the woman can get pregnant. Kits are available to help a women track her time of egg ovulation. It is suggested that a woman see her OB-GYN specialist for a complete evaluation and consultation to help optimize a couple's chances of having a child.     
 
What hurts sperm?
Many factors can affect sperm. Previous disease/sickness, trauma or injury to groin area, lifestyle habits such as diet, smoking or drinking, surgery, hormone levels, medical treatments or exposure to environmental hazards all can hurt sperm. If any of the sperm numbers are low, it is best to consult a physician who specializes in fertility for a complete examination and evaluation. 
 
What about the boxers vs. brief debate?
Sperm are very sensitive to temperature. Sperm are only produced in the testicles, and they need to be kept at a temperature a few degrees lower than normal body temperature for the best quality of sperm to be produced. This lower temperature usually is kept naturally since the testicles are kept somewhat "away" from the body. "Briefs" undergarments can push the testicles up against the body, increasing the temperature they are exposed to (body temperature). While there is some debate on the exact effect this may have, it makes sense that boxers allow for a more natural position and help keep the testicles at the natural lower temperature, and can help with sperm quality. Long exposure to "Hot Tubs" or hot bathes should be avoided as well, for the same reason. Infertility experts and many studies have shown that "varicoceles" which are enlarged veins in the scrotal area can increase  the blood flow and temperature to the testicles and thus reduce sperm quality. A physician who specializes in infertility is your best choice to have this factors evaluated. 
 
What if I have no access to a hot shot andrology lab- how find local lab that can help me ?
I firmly believe the best laboratory to completely and fully evaluate your sperm sample is our laboratory, the AALC. All our specimens are examined within 20 minutes of their arrival to the lab, and I've been doing these kind of semen analysis with a specialization in low counts and post-reversal semen test for over 12 years, and have helped many couples decide if they should continue with natural sex or pursue IUI, or IVF. There is often a "fine line" between IUI or IVF procedures based on the semen quality, so a precise and accurate sperm analysis can save you thousands of dollars. If it not practical to have your sperm analyzed at our laboratory, consult your local OB-GYN or local male fertility specialist to recommend a quality andrology laboratory to have a sperm test done. 
 
What questions do I ask of my local lab staff where I am having my testing done? 
Ask about how soon your sample will be examined after you deliver it to the lab. It is very important to have the sample examined within 20 minutes  of delivery to the lab, or less than one hour of collection. If not, the results may not be reliable. Ask if the semen sample will be rated for a Forward Progression and not just a percentage motility alone. Do they calculate a Total Motile? Do they clearly describe all the normal ranges and provide comments that are easy and clear to read and understand what may be abnormal about your analysis?  How can you get your lab results? Who will explain them to you? 
 
 

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