Semen Analysis: Care Instructions

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Your Care Instructions

A semen analysis is a test to measure the number and quality of your sperm. The lab will also measure the amount of liquid (semen) produced with the sperm. Sperm quality is determined by looking at the shape of the sperm, the number of sperm, and how well they move.

You may have a semen analysis if you are having problems fathering a child. Or your doctor may do a semen analysis to find out whether surgery (vasectomy) to keep you from fathering a child worked. You may have to give a few samples over time.

You may need to have your semen checked again after several weeks to see if there are any changes.

Follow-up care is a key part of your treatment and safety. Be sure to make and go to all appointments, and call your doctor or nurse call line if you are having problems. It's also a good idea to know your test results and keep a list of the medicines you take.

How can you care for yourself at home?

  • Do not have sex or masturbate for 3 days before you collect the semen sample. This allows your sperm count to be at its highest. It also helps make sure the test is accurate.
  • Do not sit in a hot tub or take a bath in hot water for 3 days before collecting the semen sample. The heat can kill sperm.
  • Take the semen sample to the lab or clinic within 1 hour after you collect it.
  • Collect the semen sample into the container your doctor gives you.
    • Wash and dry your hands and penis.
    • Ejaculate into the container. Do not use any lubricant or saliva. Do not use a regular condom to collect the semen, because the powder in it can kill sperm. Collect the entire amount of semen you produce.
    • Keep the semen close to body temperature. A good way to do this is by keeping the semen container in an inside pocket. Avoid getting the semen hot or cold.
    • If masturbation is not acceptable to you, your doctor may give you a special condom to wear during sexual intercourse to collect the semen.

When should you call for help?

Watch closely for changes in your health, and be sure to contact your doctor or nurse call line if you have questions about how to collect the semen.

Where can you learn more?

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