Producing a sperm sample

If you have viable sperm in the ejaculate, you're asked to produce a sperm sample on the day of your partner's egg collection. You're shown to a private room designed for the purpose where you produce the sample.

The infertility investigation inevitably involves a sperm test, so you should have had a chance to practise ejaculating into a small plastic jar before the big day! However, when the pressure is on, ejaculating can be difficult. If you have an inkling that this may happen to you, speak to your doctor or nurse before the sperm sample is needed and they can discuss alternatives to make sure that sperm is available on the day of egg collection:

^ Produce the sample at home and bring it to the clinic if you live within an hour or so from the clinic, or you can use a hotel room close to the clinic.

^ Freeze a sample ahead of time and use it for back-up, just in case. Sometimes, knowing that you have a back-up sample in the freezer is enough to relieve anxiety, so freezing sperm to lift the pressure can be a good idea. (See the section 'Freezing sperm in advance' later in the chapter.)

1 Ask your partner to help you, but do this before egg collection because your partner could be too sleepy or sore after her egg collection.

1 Ask your doctor to prescribe Viagra for you, which can help you to overcome performance anxiety.

Don't use lubricants when you masturbate, because they kill the sperm.

Embryologists recommend two to four days of abstinence before you produce sperm for IVF treatment because:

1 Avoiding ejaculation for a long time before the sample is needed can make the sperm quality worse: So no, you can't improve the quality of your sperm by 'saving up' for a long time before the sample is needed.

1 Ejaculating too close to the time when the sperm sample is needed may reduce the number of sperm in the ejaculate.

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