Does this test have other names?
What is this test?
This is a series of tests that looks at how healthy your semen and sperm are.
Male infertility is often caused by low sperm count, abnormal sperm movement, or weak
sperm. If you and your partner are trying to conceive, the results of this test can
help you figure out the next steps you may want to take.
Why do I need this test?
You may have a semen analysis if you and your partner haven't been able to conceive.
You may also have this test if you've recently had a vasectomy. A vasectomy prevents
pregnancy by keeping sperm separate from semen during ejaculation. Your healthcare
provider can use this test to find out whether the vasectomy was successful.
If you had a reverse vasectomy, your provider can also use this test to see if it
What other tests might I have along with this test?
Your healthcare provider might also do a physical exam and a detailed health history.
You may also have genetic tests or tests on your endocrine glands.
What do my test results mean?
Many things may affect your lab test results. These include the method each lab uses
to do the test. Even if your test results are different from the normal value, you
may not have a problem. To learn what the results mean for you, talk with your healthcare
The normal ranges for each procedure are:
Volume: 2 to 5 milliliters (mL)
Liquefaction time, or the amount of time it takes your semen to go from a gel-like
substance to a watery substance: 20 to 30 minutes after collection
pH, or acidity: 7.12 to 8.00
Sperm count: 50 to 200 million per milliliter (m/mL
Sperm motility, or the ability to move rapidly: 60% to 80% actively moving
Sperm morphology, or the sperm's shape and size: 70% to 90% normally shaped
If your results are different, you may have decreased fertility. But it's possible
for men with lower sperm counts to be fertile, and men with high sperm counts to be
How is this test done?
This analysis requires a semen sample. The sample can be collected a different ways.
The most common and reliable way is to ejaculate into a sterile container in a private
room at your healthcare provider's office. You can also collect the sample at home
by ejaculating into a condom that has no additives or lubricants. But the sample must
be delivered to the lab within an hour after ejaculation.
Other methods may be used to collect the sample. For example, your healthcare provider
may use a vacuum device fitted around your penis to increase blood flow to your penis,
resulting in ejaculation. If you have a spinal cord injury, a vibrator may be used
to encourage ejaculation.
Semen can vary in quality, so you may need to provide two samples within a week or
Does this test pose any risks?
This test poses no physical risks. But some men may feel embarrassed by the method
used to collect the semen sample.
What might affect my test results?
Using lubricants or condoms containing a lubricant can affect the results of your
How do I get ready for this test?
For the most accurate test results, abstain from sex for 2 to 7 days. In addition,
be sure your healthcare provider knows about all medicines, herbs, vitamins, and supplements
you are taking. This includes medicines that don't need a prescription and any illicit
drugs you may use.