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Reference ranges for semen analysis

Reports after the 1st October 2011 will show reference values from the updated WHO guidelines (2010). Motility will be reported as 3 categories instead of 4 and a chart showing 95th percentiles will be on the back of the reports.

Lower reference limits (5th centiles and their 95% confidence intervals) for semen characteristics:



Lower reference limit

 Laboratory method uncertainty (95% CI)

Semen volume (ml)

1.5 (1.4-1.7)


Total sperm number (106 per ejaculate)

39 (33-46)


Sperm concentration (106 per ml)

15 (12-16)


Progressive motility (PR, %)

32 (31-34)


Sperm morphology (normal forms, %)

4 (3.0-4.0)


Vitality (live spermatozoa, %)

58 (55-63)



≥ 7.2



Distribution of values for semen parameters from men whose partners became pregnant within 12 months of discontinuing contraceptive use (click on title to view table)