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Semen Analysis Test

Last updated Oct. 11, 2015

What are the other Names for this Test? (Equivalent Terms)

  • Semen Specimen Test
  • Seminal Fluid Analysis Test
  • Sperm Morphology Study

What is Semen Analysis Test? (Background Information)

  • Semen is an opaque, white, fluid mixture released by a man during ejaculation. It is composed of sperm, the male sex cell, surrounded by seminal plasma. The plasma contains dissolved substances that provide an environment, which is hospitable to sperm
  • The components of semen are produced by the testicles, epididymis, seminal vesicle, prostate gland, bulbourethral gland, and urethral gland. Disorders of these structures may cause faulty semen production and infertility
  • Semen also serves as a vehicle by which certain pathogens may be transported. Sexually transmitted infections (STIs) may be spread through various forms of sexual contact involving body fluids, such as semen
  • The Semen Analysis Test assesses the volume and makeup of semen. Specifically, it assesses the color, quantity, sterility, odor, viscosity, and liquefaction of semen. It also assesses the quantity and motility of sperm

What are the Clinical Indications for performing the Semen Analysis Test?

Following are the clinical indications for performing a Semen Analysis Test:

  • Difficulty becoming pregnant
  • Monitoring fertility treatments
  • After a vasectomy, to confirm the man is infertile
  • Following major trauma to the genitals

How is the Specimen Collected for Semen Analysis Test?

Following is the specimen collection process for Semen Analysis Test:

Sample required: Semen

Process: Masturbation and collection of the ejaculate.

Preparation required: Proper stimulation

What is the Significance of the Semen Analysis Test Result?

A low sperm count may indicate:

  • Infertility
  • Disorder of the sexual organs responsible for producing semen
  • Testicular trauma
  • Inflammation caused by infection, such as an STI
  • Cancer
  • Chronically elevated temperature of the testes, as with cryptorchidism
  • Klinefelter’s syndrome

The laboratory test results are NOT to be interpreted as results of a "stand-alone" test. The test results have to be interpreted after correlating with suitable clinical findings and additional supplemental tests/information. Your healthcare providers will explain the meaning of your tests results, based on the overall clinical scenario.

Additional and Relevant Useful Information:

  • Certain factors interfere with the test results and these include:
    • Hydration status
    • Nutritional status
    • Recent sexual activity and masturbation
    • Testicular temperature
    • The use of recreational drugs
    • Medications, such as cimetidine
  • Semen is very sensitive to environmental changes. Thus, a fresh sample is always essential to obtain accurate results from this test

Certain medications that you may be currently taking may influence the outcome of the test. Hence, it is important to inform your healthcare provider, the complete list of medications (including any herbal supplements) you are currently taking. This will help the healthcare provider interpret your test results more accurately and avoid unnecessary chances of a misdiagnosis.

What are some Useful Resources for Additional Information?

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References and Information Sources used for the Article:

Daniels, R. (2010). Delmar's manual of laboratory and diagnostic tests: Organized by type of test (2nd ed.). Clifton Park, NY: Delmar Cengage Learning.

Jacobs, D. S., Oxley, D. K., & DeMott, W. R. (2004). Laboratory test handbook: Concise, with disease index (3rd ed.). Hudson (Cleveland), OH: Lexi-Comp.

Lab Tests Online (2013, September 30). Retrieved June 7, 2014 from http://labtestsonline.org/understanding/analytes/semen/

Schnell, Z. B., Van, L. A., & Kranpitz, T. R. (2003). Davis's Comprehensive handbook of laboratory and diagnostic tests: With nursing implications. Philadelphia: F.A. Davis.

Reviewed and Approved by a member of the DoveMed Editorial Board
First uploaded: June 14, 2014
Last updated: Oct. 11, 2015