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Semen Analysis


How To Prepare

You may be asked to avoid any sexual activity that results in ejaculation for 2 to 5 days before this test. This helps to make sure that your sperm count will be at its highest. It also makes the test more reliable. If possible, do not avoid sexual activity for more than 1 to 2 weeks before this test. A long time without sexual activity can result in less active sperm.

You may be asked to avoid drinking alcohol for a few days before the test.

Be sure to tell your doctor about any medicines or herbal supplements you take.

How It Is Done

You will need to produce a semen sample. This is usually done by ejaculating into a clean sample cup. You can do this in a private room or in a bathroom at your doctor's office or clinic. If you live close to your doctor's office or clinic, you may be able to collect the semen sample at home. Then you can take it to the office or clinic for testing.

  • The most common way to collect semen is by masturbation. You direct the semen into a clean sample cup. Do not use a lubricant.
  • You can collect a semen sample during sex by withdrawing your penis from your partner just before you ejaculate. You then ejaculate into a clean sample cup. This method can be used after a vasectomy to test for the presence of sperm. But other ways will likely be recommended if you are testing for infertility.
  • You can also collect a semen sample during sex by using a condom. If you use a regular condom, you will need to wash it well before you use it. This helps to remove any powder or lubricant on the condom that might kill sperm. You may also be given a special condom that does not have any substance on it that kills sperm (spermicide). After you ejaculate, carefully remove the condom from your penis. Tie a knot in the open end of the condom. Then place it in a container that can be sealed in case the condom leaks or breaks.

WebMD Medical Reference from Healthwise

Last Updated: July 30, 2014
This information is not intended to replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise disclaims any liability for the decisions you make based on this information.
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