Semen Analysis

Semen Analysis: What You Need To Know

Semen analysis is a diagnostic test done to measure the quantity and quality of a man's semen and sperm, both of which are important for successful fertilization of the female ovum during reproduction. If a man is having difficulty conceiving, a semen analysis is the first step in determining the source of the infertility. It is typically part of an overall infertility evaluation.

Preparing for Semen Analysis

Before you can have a semen analysis done, there are several things that you will need to do. The following tips will help you to be prepared:

  • Your doctor will give you a semen collection container, which you will need to bring to your semen analysis appointment.
  • Your semen sample needs to be produced in a sterile environment, so plan to give your sample in the clinic. Do not attempt to collect it at home.
  • Avoid ejaculating for 2-3 days before the test. This can increase both the quantity and quality of the semen.
  • If you are taking any medications, make sure to inform your doctor. Some medications can affect the results of the test.


When you arrive for your appointment, the nurse will ask you to put on a gown. You will then be given a room where you can produce a semen sample. If it has been more than an hour since you last ejaculated, you will need to masturbate into the sterile container provided. The semen sample is then tested in the lab for its volume, pH, viscosity, sperm count, motility, and morphology.

Types of Semen Analysis

Semen analysis is divided into two categories: basic and extended. Basic analysis consists of tests that measure semen volume, pH, viscosity, sperm count, motility (percentage of motile sperm), and morphology (normal-appearing sperm). Extended analysis includes sperm morphology and function tests, such as sperm-zona pellucida binding, hypo-osmotic swelling test, fructose test, and post-coital test.


Semen analysis is a safe procedure. There are no known risks or side effects associated with it.

Why is a Semen Analysis Performed?

A semen analysis can help to diagnose the cause of a man's infertility. It can help to evaluate the quality and quantity of the sperm in the semen sample in order to determine if further investigation is needed. It can also help to detect any abnormalities in the semen that may be causing infertility.

When is a Semen Analysis Performed?

A semen analysis is usually performed as part of an overall infertility evaluation. If a couple is having difficulty conceiving, the man’s doctor may recommend a semen analysis in order to rule out any male factor infertility. A semen analysis may also be performed if a man has had a vasectomy in order to make sure that he is no longer producing sperm.