Find Information About:

Drugs & Supplements

Get information and reviews on prescription drugs, over-the-counter medications, vitamins, and supplements. Search by name or medical condition.

Pill Identifier

Pill Identifier

Having trouble identifying your pills?

Enter the shape, color, or imprint of your prescription or OTC drug. Our pill identification tool will display pictures that you can compare to your pill.

Get Started

My Medicine

Save your medicine, check interactions, sign up for FDA alerts, create family profiles and more.

Get Started

WebMD Health Experts and Community

Talk to health experts and other people like you in WebMD's Communities. It's a safe forum where you can create or participate in support groups and discussions about health topics that interest you.

  • Second Opinion

    Second Opinion

    Read expert perspectives on popular health topics.

  • Community


    Connect with people like you, and get expert guidance on living a healthy life.

Got a health question? Get answers provided by leading organizations, doctors, and experts.

Get Answers

Sign up to receive WebMD's award-winning content delivered to your inbox.

Sign Up

Infertility & Reproduction Health Center

Select An Article

Sperm FAQ

Font Size

Is there anything you can do to improve the health of your sperm?

Many of the things you do to keep yourself healthy can also improve the health of your sperm. These include:

  • Avoiding cigarettes and illicit drugs, especially anabolic steroids
  • Avoiding exposure to toxins such as pesticides and heavy metals
  • Limiting alcohol intake
  • Eating a healthy diet and maintaining a healthy weight
  • Keeping your scrotum cool, because heat slows sperm production; avoid hot baths and hot tubs, wear boxers instead of briefs, and avoid pants that are tight or restrictive.

What does a semen analysis tell?

Semen analysis is a test that can help health care providers determine the cause of infertility. Performed on semen ejaculated into a cup, the test provides information about sperm and semen. Here are some of the things the doctor looks for:

Amount and thickness of semen. The typical ejaculate is 2-6 milliliters (mL) of semen, or around a 1/2 teaspoon to 1 teaspoon. Less semen than that may not contain enough sperm to achieve a pregnancy. More semen 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 (mL) 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 their movement. One hour after ejaculation, at least 50% of sperm should be moving forward in a straight line.

Morphology. This is an analysis of the sperm size, shape, and appearance. The test analyzes 200 sperm, noting any defects.

Semen analysis is also used to check for the presence of sperm following vasectomy.

Do men stop making sperm when they are older?

Unlike women, whose fertility ends at menopause, men can continue to be fertile throughout life. Although sperm production decreases with age, men continue to produce sperm, and even elderly men have fathered children.

WebMD Medical Reference

Reviewed by Trina Pagano, MD on October 28, 2014
Next Article:

Today on WebMD

Four pregnant women standing in a row
How much do you know about conception?
Couple with surrogate mother
Which one is right for you?
couple lying in grass holding hands
Why Dad's health matters.
couple viewing positive pregnancy test
6 ways to improve your chances.
Which Treatment Is Right For You
Conception Myths
eddleman prepare your body pregnancy
Charting Your Fertility Cycle
Fertility Specialist
Understanding Fertility Symptoms
invitro fertilization