A semen analysis measures how much semen a man produces. It also shows the number and quality of sperm in the semen sample.
This test is usually one of the first tests done to help find out if a man has a problem fathering a child (infertility). A problem with the semen or sperm affects more than one-third of couples who are unable to have children (infertile).
Volume. This is a measure of how much semen is present in one ejaculation.
Liquefaction time. Semen is a thick gel at the time of ejaculation. It normally becomes liquid within 20 minutes after ejaculation. Liquefaction time is the time it takes for the semen to turn to liquid.
Sperm count. This counts the number of sperm present per milliliter (mL) of semen in one ejaculation.
Sperm morphology. This is a measure of the percentage of sperm that have a normal shape.
Sperm motility. This is a measure of the percentage of sperm that can move forward normally. The number of sperm that show normal forward movement in a certain amount of semen can also be measured. This is called motile density.
pH. This is a measure of the acidity (low pH) or alkalinity (high pH) of the semen.
White blood cell count. White blood cells are not normally present in semen.
Fructose level. This is a measure of the amount of a sugar called fructose in the semen. The fructose provides energy for the sperm.
Why It Is Done
A semen analysis is done to find out if:
A man has a reproductive problem that is causing him to be infertile.