Computer Assisted Semen Analysis (CASA)

What is a semen analysis?

A semen analysis is a test performed to screen for male fertility problems. In order to perform a semen analysis, a man must collect s semen specimen into a sterile cup. This is usually done by masturbation though in some cases, using a special condom, a semen specimen can be obtained during intercourse. For many years, evaluation of the semen has been performed by a laboratory technician looking through a microscope and manually counting sperm.

A standard or manual semen analysis will give only a few parameters:

  • Volume of ejaculate
  • Concentration of sperm
  • Motility (Percent of sperm which are moving)
  • Progressive motility (usually given a score ranging from 1 (poor) to 4 (best)
  • pH (the acidity of the fluid)
  • Morphology (appearance of the sperm)

It was completely arbitrary as to what was differentiated a fast moving sperm from a sperm with medium velocity or a slow moving sperm. Studies showed that different technicians would sometimes come up with very different numbers for such things as sperm counts or sperm motility.

What is a computer assisted semen analysis?

At IVF 1, we use a sophisticated electronic imaging system to visualize the sperm and an advanced software program to evaluate dozens of individual sperm parameters. This is sometimes referred to as CASA or computer assisted semen analysis.

Computer assisted semen analysis
Computer assisted semen analysis

The semen specimen is placed on the stage of the microscope. This microscope has a high resolution video camera attached. The video camera feeds data into the computer where it undergoes analysis by software. A computerized semen analysis will give many more parameters that are useful to the fertility specialist. More importantly, the results are accurate and reproducible. Any technician in the laboratory can click the mouse on the computer and get the same results as any other technician. Learn about the measurements of sperm motility and sperm morphology by clicking the links below.

Semen analysis and sperm motility

The determination of the number of sperm that are moving rapidly in a forward progressive manner is one of the most important factors in the evaluation of male fertility. Learn how sperm motility is analyzed at IVF1 using computer assisted semen analysis. Read more…

Semen analysis: Concentration and motility
Semen analysis: Concentration and motility

Semen Analysis and Sperm Morphology

The determination of the number of sperm that have a normal shape and appearance is called sperm morphology. Lab technicians show a lot of variation when they are assessing the shape of sperm. Two technicians can give the same sperm sample very different results. The computerized semen analysis, however, takes precise measurements to determine what is normal and is therefore far more consistent than a manual analysis. Read more…

Sperm morphology
Sperm morphology