You may be asked to provide a semen sample either once or more frequently. It is recommended that the man abstain from ejaculation for at least three, and no more than five days before collection of semen samples. The sample is checked for number of sperm, appearance, and quality of sperm motility. If decreased counts or quality are suspected, a swim-up preparation will also be done in an effort to predict how many sperm can be collected from a sample. This information is helpful in developing a semen production and insemination plan to be used on the day of egg retrieval.
Stress, embarrassment, fatigue, and anxiety can make it difficult to produce a sample when you want to most. This may be especially true following egg retrieval. This is not a reflection on you, but merely reflects the awkwardness and pressure related to this situation.
If you are concerned about the ease with which you can produce a semen sample, it is generally recommended that you practice at home prior to cycling. This will lower your anxiety when sample production becomes more of a demand.
An infertility counselor or nurse coordinator can make more specific suggestions to increase the ease with which you produce a semen sample.
Post Coital Test
During most menstrual cycles, the cervical mucus is thick. Just before ovulation, however, the rising estrogen levels cause this mucus to become thin and watery. This watery mucus helps the sperm travel to the fallopian tubes.
The importance of sperm survival in the cervix after intercourse is clear; sperm survival is affected by the quality and receptivity of the cervical mucus and can be evaluated by a post-coital test.
The post coital test looks at the survival of sperm in the woman's body. The couple will be reassured if healthy, motile sperm are seen. If sperm are absent or abnormal some possible causes are: the presence of antibodies against sperm, poor mucus quality, poor mucus production, faulty ovulation, poor timing of the test, and problems with intercourse. There are very few risks involved with the post coital test. Occasional problems of temporary impotence are reported and there is a small risk of light bleeding.