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    Sperm FAQ

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    What does a semen analysis tell?

    It's a test that can help your doctor figure out why you and your partner are having trouble having a baby.

    Some things you can learn from the analysis:

    Amount and thickness of semen. On average, each time a man ejaculates he releases 2-6 milliliters (mL) of semen, or around a 1/2 teaspoon to 1 teaspoon.

    Less than that amount may not contain enough sperm for a woman to get pregnant. On the other hand, more than that could dilute the concentration of sperm.

    Semen should be thick to start with and become thinner 10 to 15 minutes after ejaculation. Semen that stays thick may make it difficult for sperm to move.

    Sperm concentration. Also called sperm density, this is the number of sperm in millions per milliliter of semen. Twenty million or more sperm per mL is considered normal.

    Sperm motility. This is the percentage of sperm in a sample that are moving, as well as an assessment of how they move. One hour after ejaculation, at least 50% of sperm should be moving forward in a straight line.

    Morphology. This is an analysis of the size, shape, and appearance of sperm.

    Do men stop making sperm when they're older?

    Men can continue to be fertile throughout life. The amount of sperm you make goes down as you get older, but even elderly men have fathered children.

    WebMD Medical Reference

    Reviewed by Trina Pagano, MD on October 28, 2014
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