Semen Analysis

Semen Analysis

What is a Semen Analysis?

A Semen analysis, also known as a sperm count test, analyzes the health and viability of a man’s sperm. Semen is the fluid containing sperm that’s released during ejaculation.

Doctors will often conduct two or three separate sperm analyses to get a good idea of sperm’s health. Taking an average of the sperm samples can give the most conclusive result.

Why would you be doing a Semen Analysis (SA)?

Since male factor accounts for about 35% of infertility, one of the first tests they’ll do to diagnose you as a couple. A semen analysis is often recommended when couples are having problems getting pregnant. The test will help a doctor determine if a man is infertile. The analysis will also help determine if low sperm count or sperm dysfunction is the reason behind infertility.

A SA measures the following:

  • Volume (measured in mL)
  • Liquefaction time
  • Sperm count (both the overall count and per mL)
  • Sperm motility (the percentage of sperm that are moving – these are your “swimmers”). Most clinics also measure how many sperm are moving forward, which is called the “forward motility” test.
  • Morphology (the percentage of sperm that have a normal shape).

What you can expect

In many instances, a doctor will require a person to provide a semen sample while in the doctor’s office. The most common way to collect a sample is for a person to masturbate and ejaculate into a sterile cup. The doctor provides a private room for a person to do this. A doctor may recommend that the person ejaculates into a collection cup while at home.

When collecting a sample at home, you must remember to keep it at room temperature and bring it to the laboratory within a short timescale after collection.


Generally you’ll get the results back within a couple of days of the SA, but it depends on your clinic.

Problems that may arise during the process

There aren’t many problems that will present themselves in terms of the collection process, unless you miss the cup or can’t ejaculate. If the results come back abnormal, your doctor will suggest that you see a urologist, who can provide a further diagnosis.

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