A semen analysis is an examination of a sample of a man's ejaculate under a microscope. The semen analysis is a standard and important part of an infertility workup. The microscopic analysis needs to take place within two hours of a man collecting the semen sample in a sterile cup or other container provided by the doctor's office. The analysis will look for the following features of normal sperm:
- Sperm count. Forty million to 300 million is the normal range for the number of sperm per milliliter. Counts below 10 million are considered poor; counts of 20 million or more may be fine if motility and morphology are normal.
- Motility -- the ability of the sperm to swim, and the direction and force with which they swim.
- Morphology -- the size and shape of the sperm.
- Total semen volume -- should be between 20 and 25 ml.
- Fluid thickness, acidity, sugar content and how well it turns from a gel-like state to a liquid state.