Semen Analysis

What is semen analysis?

Semen is a viscous fluid produced by mature male sexual organs. Semen is ejaculated at the time of sexual intercourse or masturbation. Semen analysis is a fertility test that determines the number and quality of sperm. It helps in determining male infertility by evaluating sperm count, concentration, motility, and morphology.

What is the semen analysis used for?

  • Semen analysis is used to diagnose infertility in a man when a couple is having difficulty conceiving.
  • As a routine test to know the health of sperm in the semen sample.
  • Post-vasectomy procedure to determine if the vasectomy was successful.
  • Human donor for sperm donation.

How do I prepare for a semen analysis test?

  • Abstinence from sex and masturbation for not less than 3 days and not more than 7 days from the last ejaculation.
  • Inform the doctor of any medications you are currently taking.
  • Avoid collecting the sample under stress.
  • Avoid alcohol, marijuana, and caffeine for a few days before collecting the sample.
  • Collect the sample at home or in the lab. If collected at home, keep warm during transport, and the sample is to be given within 30 minutes of collection.

Procedure for semen analysis test

  • For 3–5 days, refrain from sexual interaction or masturbation.
  • Masturbation is used to collect the sample at home or in the hospital. 
  • The highest concentration of spermatozoa is present in the first portion of the ejaculated semen and is preferred for testing.
  • The sample is to be collected in a clean, dry, labeled container without spillage or leakage. The container should not have a rubber lining, as contact with rubber can result in sperm death. The temperature should not be less than 20 °C or more than 40 °C during transportation.
  • The sample is to be delivered in 30 minutes.
  • Two or three samples may be required for accurate results.

What are the normal values in semen analysis test reports?

The World Health Organization (WHO) 2010 has established standard reference values for sperm analysis. 


Normal values

Abnormal values


1.5 mL to 5.0 mL/ejaculation

Less than 1.5 mL or above 5.0mL


Slightly alkaline 7.2 and 7.8

Below 7.0 or above 8.0


Whitish to grey opalescent

Yellowish, pink, or brown

Total sperm count

39 million to 200 million spermatozoa

Below 15 million

Liquefaction time

15-30 minutes after collection

Above 30 minutes


More than 50 percent normal shape of sperm

Less than 50 percent


More than 35 - 70 percent

Less than 35


Less than 2 cm after liquefaction within 20 to 30 mins

More than 2 cm 30 mins after ejaculation


40-80 percent actively progressively moving forward

Less than 40 percent



a large number of WBC present



RBC present

The NIL sperm count reading shown after the vasectomy procedure indicates successful surgery. 

Disclaimer: Please consult a doctor for help in interpreting the test reports.

What are the different terminologies used in a semen analysis?

Some of the terms that are used in the semen analysis report include:

  • Oligospermia: Sperm count of less than 15 million/mL
  • Azoospermia: No spermatozoa in semen
  • Polyzoospermia: High sperm concentration
  • Hypospermia: Semen volume is less than 4.5mL
  • Hyperspermia: Semen volume is more than 4.5mL
  • Aspermia: No semen volume
  • Hematospermia: Red blood cells present in semen
  • Necrozoospermia: Dead sperm cells present in semen.

You should not self-diagnose the reports but consult your doctor for an interpretation. The test must be repeated at regular intervals when the couples are trying to conceive. To know more about the test and treatment options, you can request an appointment at Apollo Fertility, Guwahati, for a consultation by calling 1860 500 4424.

1. Is the semen analysis test definitive?

The semen analysis test is a screening test based on the sample provided at that particular time. Results depend on various factors, such as stress, lifestyle, and even the temperature at which the samples are tested. The doctor might recommend more tests to check the accuracy of the results.

2. Can I avoid the test if I do not have any symptoms? Is there any risk involved in the testing?

It is a simple, straightforward test with no risks involved. Except for difficulty conceiving, there are no other symptoms. Testing is the only way to know about male fertility.

3. What factors affect semen analysis results?

Duration of abstinence from sex, temperature change in the sample before testing, stress, medication, etc. are the contributing factors.

4. Does frequent masturbation reduce sperm count?

No, this does not affect sperm count or the ability to make your partner fertile.

5. When should I see a doctor?

Whether you are facing difficulty conceiving or are curious to know about your fertility, do not hesitate to consult with a doctor for a timely diagnosis. You can request an appointment at Apollo Fertility, Guwahati, for a consultation by calling 1860 500 4424.

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