Semen (Sperm) analysis / count

Clinical definition of the Semen analysis test
A semen analysis evaluates certain characteristics of a male's semen such as the amount of semen number and quality of sperm contained in the semen. It may be done while investigating a couple's infertility or after a vasectomy to verify that the procedure was successful. It is also used for testing donors for sperm donation. The various parameters measured in a semen analysis are:

  • Sperm count- A count of the number of sperm present per milliliter (mL) of semen in one ejaculation
  • Sperm Motility- A measure of the percentage of sperm that can move forward normally
  • Morphology- A measure of the percentage of sperm that have a normal shape
  • Volume- A measure of the amount of semen present in one ejaculation
  • Fructose level- a measure of the amount of a sugar called fructose in the semen. The fructose provides energy to the sperm for movement
  • pH- measure of the acidity (low pH) or alkalinity (high pH) of the semen
  • Liquefaction time- Semen is usually a thick gel at the time of ejaculation. It normally becomes liquid within 20 minutes after ejaculation. Liquefaction time is a measure of the time it takes for the semen to liquefy
  • Vitality- A measure of the living sperms in an ejaculation
  • White blood cells (WBC) - White blood cells are not normally present in semen. The presence of WBC’s indicates infection

Why is the Semen analysis test done?
A semen analysis is usually done to help determine whether a man has an infertility problem due to which the couple is unable to have children. It may also be done to determine the success of a vasectomy or the reversal of the same.

What are the common signs/symptoms when the Semen analysis test is done?

  • Infertily
  • Varicocele
  • Undescended testis

Who should do the Semen analysis test (Target population)?
Couples unable to bear children, hence the need to be tested for infertility. It may be done as a follow up to a vasectomy.

What should I do before the Semen analysis test?

Specimen type

Specimen collection procedure

Preparatory instructions before the test *

For Men


Semen sample collection is through masturbation, directed into a clean cup.


Abstain from sex for a period of at least two days but not more than seven days, since a long period of sexual inactivity may result in less active sperm.
Produce a sample by masturbation only.

Collect the whole sample in the container provided.

Avoid drinking alcohol for a few days before the test.

*Subjects suffering from any illness or on oral or injectable medications are advised to consult their physician prior to requesting any tests or procedures.

How do I interpret my Semen analysis test results?

Reference Range*


Sperm count

20x106 spermatozoa/ml or more

Sperm Motility

50% or more with forward progression


30% or more with normal forms


2.0 ml or more

Fructose level

13 m -mol or more per ejaculate



Liquefaction time

20-30 minutes after collection


75% or more live, i.e., excluding dye

White blood cells (WBC)

fewer than 1x106/ml, ideally must be absent

‘*A Reference range is a set of values which helps the healthcare professional to interpret a medical test. It may vary with age, gender, and other factors. Reference ranges may also vary between labs, in value & units depending on instruments used and method of establishment of reference ranges’

Diseases/conditions related to the Semen analysis test

  • Infertility

Other tests related to the Semen analysis test

  • Antisperm antibody test
  • FSH
  • LH
  • Free Testosterone
  • Testosterone
  • Prolactin
  • Oestrogen