Sperm Test

In around a third of couples with infertility, the main problem lies with the man. In our experience, up to half of fertility cases involve a problem with the sperm.

This is usually because there are insufficient numbers of normal sperm available to fertilise the egg, or because of a problem with abnormally shaped sperm, sperm that doesn’t move well or a presence of antibodies.

We offer a detailed sperm analysis carried out in our accredited laboratory with a patient friendly report written by our expert Andrology team.

Cost of a sperm test: £50

NHS sperm test requested by your GP: Free

Sperm test instructions 

The laboratory assessment of the quality of semen is a vital factor in fertility. We appreciate that being asked to produce a semen sample to order for the purpose of investigation may be difficult and embarrassing.

Please email: info@BCRM.org.uk to arrange a convenient date and time (9am- 4pm) for the sample to be received, samples can also be produced on site in one of our 3 dedicated rooms for these purposes.

Alternatively ring: 0117 414 6875

Instructions for Production of the Semen Sample: In order to assess sperm at maximum quality please do not have sexual intercourse or masturbate for 2 days, but no more than 5 days before producing the sample. The sperm sample should be produced by masturbation into a special container (provided).

 

Please carefully note the following:

  • Most of the sperm in an ejaculate is in the first portion, therefore if you collect the sample by interrupting intercourse, it is likely that this will be lost, and we will diagnose a problem, which does not exist.
  • Please do not produce samples into condoms for analysis, as these contain spermicides that destroy sperm.
  • Should some of the ejaculate fail to enter the container please do not submit that sample for analysis.
  • We would recommend that you wash yourself with soap and water.

If your sample is produced off site, tt is important that semen samples are analysed quickly after production, as sperm begin to die quite rapidly outside the body. Deliver your sample as quickly as possible, at most within an hour of production.

Keep the sample warm by carrying it upright in an inside pocket, but not keeping it too hot. Please label the container CLEARLY with your name and date of birth, and the date and time the sample was produced.

 Results The result should be available within a few days of the test. Occasionally the test needs to be repeated if the results are abnormal.

 

Understanding the: BASIC SEMEN ANALYSIS

What is a Basic Semen Analysis?

The test involves the microscopic examination of semen to assess the concentration, motility and the morphology of the sperm against the 2010 World Health Organisation reference values.  In addition to this we also look for the presence of anti-sperm antibodies which may affect mobility of the sperm.

Sperm Concentration

This is also known as ‘sperm count’ and is a measure of how many million sperm are present in each mL of your semen sample.  The World Health Organisation suggests that a normal semen sample should contain at least 15 million sperm per mL.

Total Count

This indicates the total number of sperm in your ejaculate calculated using the volume and the sperm concentration.  The World Health Organisation suggests that a normal semen sample should contain at least 39 million sperm.

Progressive Motility

This indicates the percentage of sperm in your sample which are swimming in a forward manner (progressively motile) and graded on their speed.  The world Health Organisation suggests that a normal semen sample should contain at least 32% progressively motile sperm.

Normal Forms

Also known as sperm morphology, this is a measure of the shape and size of the sperm in your sample and is reported as a ‘normal’ percentage.  The World Health Organisation suggests that a normal semen sample should contain at least 4% normal forms.

Anti-sperm Antibodies

These can occur when the body’s immune system launches an attack on your sperm. The antibodies may cause the sperm to stick together (agglutinate) or disrupt their ability to swim or impair their fertilising ability.  They are rare but commonly occur after a vasectomy reversal or severe groin injury or operation. Greater than 40% agglutination is considered significant.

My sample volume doesn’t look as much as normal?

This is a common concern but is usually needless.  The average ejaculate volume is about 2.0ml which is less than half a teaspoon or around 4mm depth in the pot.

Why has my sample gone runny? 

This is perfectly normal and is called liquefaction.  When a sample is first produced it is characteristically thick and globular.  Between 5-60 minutes after production, this coagulum is broken down to create a runny fluid.

How can I improve my sperm test result?

Unfortunately there is no simple answer to this question.  General lifestyle changes which may improve things include wearing loose fitting underwear, taking showers instead of long hot baths, not smoking and keeping alcohol intake to a minimum.  Some men do find that taking vitamin and mineral supplements help but if you have a healthy and varied diet this shouldn’t be necessary.

Why has the BCRM laboratory requested a repeat sample?

Although millions of sperm are produced by the testes everyday, for an entirely new batch of sperm to be ejaculated a complete cycle of spermatogenesis (sperm production) needs to occur.  This takes around 3 months.  By waiting this long between tests we can rule out any temporary disruptions to sperm production which may have been caused for example by a bout of illness or stress.

What happens if my results are sub-optimal or abnormal?  

We would suggest that you have a repeat sample to confirm or refute the original findings.  If this confirms that your sperm production or quality is sub-optimal or abnormal, it would be advisable to speak to a Fertility Specialist.

Find out more about abnormal results.