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Semen Analysis

Semen is the yellow-white fluid that is released from the penis at the time of ejaculation. Semen is composed of seminal fluid and sperm. Sperm are the male reproductive cells that fertilize a female egg. A semen analysis will be performed on all specimens prior to cryopreservation. The analysis examines the color, viscosity (how thick the semen is), and the time until the specimen liquefies. However, the most important information about samples to be frozen includes the total number of sperm (count), their motion (mobility), and their shape (morphology).

[Please see Sperm Banking Procedure for more information].

The Assisted Reproduction Laboratory at the University of Michigan Medical Center reports the following information using values established by the World Health Organization.

    Sperm count:
    This is a measurement of how many million sperm there are in each milliliter of semen. Normal sperm count is more than 20 million per milliliter. Counts of less than 20 million per milliliter are considered low.

    (sometimes referred to as the "mobility" or sperm movement)
    This describes the percentage of sperm that are moving. 50% or more of the sperm should be moving in a normal forward movement.

    This describes the shape of the sperm. The sperm are examined under a microscope and must meet specific sets of criteria for several characteristics in order to be considered normal. Some abnormal sperm are usually found in every semen sample. There are two commonly used criteria, WHO and Kruger Strict Morphology. Under WHO criteria, greater than 30% normal morphology is considered normal. Under Kruger Strict criteria greater than 15% normal morphology is considered normal. The University of Michigan Medical Center uses the Kruger strict criteria.

    This is a measurement of the volume of a single ejaculate. Normal is 2 milliliters (about half a teaspoon)or greater. The volume may be low if a man is anxious when producing a specimen, or if the entire specimen is not collected.

    Total Motile Count:
    This is the number of moving sperm in the entire ejaculate. It is calculated by multiplying the volume by the concentration (million sperm/ml) by the motility (% moving). There should be more than 20 million motile sperm in the ejaculate.

reviewed 04.2017

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