Infertility semen analysis
There is an information booklet for patients:
Infertility Semen Analysis, which can be found in
the related downloads section on the front page of our
A semen analysis is usually advised if a couple is having
difficulty conceiving (becoming pregnant). Primary infertility is
an extremely common problem, affecting more than one in seven
couples attempting their first pregnancy. Among those experiencing
difficulty with conception, a male fertility problem is considered
important in around 40 per cent of couples.
The sample will be analysed according to the World Health
OrganIsation (WHO) standards for volume, pH,
concentration, motility, viability and morphology.
Results are sent to the referring doctor within 5 working days of
the semen analysis.
Sexual abstinence should be between 2 and 7 days (3 or 4 days is
best). The semen sample must be obtained by masturbation (manual
stimulation) and should be collected directly into the specimen
container provided by Andrology. The whole specimen must be
collected. The specimen should then be placed in the provided
biohazard bag. The specimen should be brought directly to
Andrology by the patient within an hour
of it being passed.
The specimen container must be adequately labelled with the
patient's full name and date of birth/ hospital number and the date
and time the specimen was collected. The information on the
specimen container must correspond with the data given on the
Ensure that male name, date of birth, partner's name, referring
consultant/GP, referring department/GP practice & hospital
number are recorded on the request card.
Factors that may affect semen analysis
Some plastics are toxic to sperm so specimen containers must be
obtained from Andrology as these have been tested for toxicity.
Extremes of temperature can damage sperm so the sample
should be kept at body temperature whilst being transported to the
laboratory, for example by carrying it in an inside pocket.
A condom and/or artificial lubrication must not
be used for semen collection, as it will kill the sperm.
Motility of sperm can decline over time so it is important
that the semen sample is examined within an hour of it being
The sperm are in the first part of the ejacualate so the whole
of the specimen should be collected.
The number of days of sexual abstinence can affect the quality
of sperm. Abstinence should be between 2 and 7 days (3 or 4 days is
best) for semen analysis.
Viscous specimens or specimens where there is sperm
agglutination can affect semen analysis results.