Sperm Factors

Semen Analysis

Semen analysis is the mainstay of our assessment of sperm function. First, it tells us if sperm are present and, if so, in what concentration. Can they swim adequately, are they normally formed, and is there any sign of infection? An abnormality in any of these parameters may indicate poor sperm function. Even when the semen analysis is entirely normal, we may not know with certainty that the sperm are capable of fertilizing eggs. However, generally speaking, if the analysis is entirely normal, we assume that the sperm function normally. The currently accepted normal values for each of these parameters is summarized in the table below:

Normal Values for Semen Analysis Parameter

Component: Data Table Block


ParameterNormal Value
Volume 2.0 - 5.0 ml
Concentration > 15 million/ml
Motility > 50%
Morphology (strict) > 4%
Parameter Normal Value
Volume 2.0 - 5.0 ml
Concentration > 15 million/ml
Motility > 50%
Morphology (strict) > 4%

The semen analysis is critical to the evaluation of infertility even if a man has fathered children previously. Many things can influence day-to-day sperm production, and sperm counts can vary accordingly. Changing life circumstances will alter male fertility just as changing circumstances alter female fertility. Age, however, plays less of a role in sperm function because new sperm are constantly being generated. Because sperm are “new” cells, they are not so subject to the functional deterioration that impacts their egg counterparts.