Semen Analysis

Also known as

Semen testing, Sperm count


This is a series of tests that looks at how healthy a man’s semen and sperm are.

Male infertility is often caused by low sperm count, abnormal sperm movement, or weak sperm. If you and your partner are trying to conceive, the results of this test can help you figure out the next steps you may want to take. 

Why it's done

You may need this test if you and your partner haven’t been able to conceive.

You may also need this test if you’ve recently had a vasectomy. A vasectomy prevents pregnancy by keeping sperm separate from semen during ejaculation. Your healthcare provider can use this test to find out whether the vasectomy was successful.

If you had a reverse vasectomy, your provider can also use this test to see if it was successful.

Other tests which might go along with this test?

Your healthcare provider might also do a physical exam and a detailed health history. You may also have genetic tests or tests on your endocrine glands.


This test is done with a semen sample. The sample can be collected in different ways. The most common and reliable way is to ejaculate into a sterile container in a private room at your healthcare provider’s office. You can also collect the sample at home by ejaculating into a sterile container. But the sample must be kept at body temperature and delivered to the lab within an hour after ejaculation.

Semen can vary in quality, so you may need to provide two samples within a week or two.


This test poses no known risks.

What might affect my test results?

Things that may affect your semen analysis include alcohol, tobacco, caffeine, or other recreational drugs. Some prescription medicines, such as cimetidine, or herbal medicines can also affect the results of a semen analysis. 

How do I get ready for this test?

For the most accurate test results, don’t have sex for 2 to 7 days. Be sure your healthcare provider knows about all medicines, herbs, vitamins, and supplements you are taking. This includes medicines that don’t need a prescription and any illegal drugs you may use.