The sperm count is the initial fertility exam for the male. Sperm counts can change from day to day due to different production rates in the testicle, sexual abstinence, use of medications, fever and contact with toxic substances.
In order to do the exam, the male needs to provide a semen sample by masturbation, which is collected in a sterile recipient and then taken to the laboratory for processing.
Standarized procedures for taking semen samples
It is very important that the exam be taken in a standardized way (recommended by the World Health Organization WHO) that includes:
- No alcohol intake in the previous 40 days.
- Abstaining from sexual intercourse for at least 2 days but less than 7.
- No illness or medications in the previous 30 days.
- The sample should be in the lab before one hour has passed since the ejaculation.
- The sample should be taken by masturbation without the aid of lubricants or condoms.
- The sample should be taken in a plastic or glass recipient at body temperature and properly marked with the name and date.
Samples are received in the laboratory from 7 to 9 am every day except Sunday.
Reference who values for the sperm count
2 ml or more
Number of spermatozoa
20 million per ml or more.
Total sperm count:
40 million or more.
50% or more (including rapid and slow, type A and B).
50% or more.
4% or more.