Posted: 03 Sep 2015
Author: London Sperm Bank

Men interested in joining our donor program have to provide a sperm sample for analysis.  We ask that you provide this sample on site after a period of 3-4 days of abstinence from sexual activity.

Some men experience anxiety over the test — and of course later, the results- which is understandable.  However by applying to become a donor at The London Sperm Bank, you get to find our so much more information about yourself, in an environment where there is lots of support.  Our scientists will always explain the results to you in a confidentual manner and offer counseling to all men who receive unexpected results.

With that said, below is a breakdown of the scientific jargon and the health factors typically evaluated in a sperm analysis:

Semen Ejaculate Volume

What Is It?

Semen is made up of more than just sperm. In fact, less than 5% of semen is made up of sperm. Healthy semen includes fluid from the testes (which is where the sperm come from), from the seminal vesicles (which includes important nutrients for the sperm), from the prostate gland (which includes zinc-rich fluid to maintain DNA stability of the sperm), and from the bulbourethral glands (which contains a mucus to help the semen swim).

What Is Considered Normal?

Normal semen ejaculate is between 1.5 milliliters to 6 milliliters of fluid. This is about one-third of a teaspoon to a little over a teaspoon.

Sperm Concentration

What Is It?

Sperm concentration is the number of sperm found in one milliliter (ml) of semen.

What Is Considered Normal?

There should be at least 15,000,000 (or 15 x 10^6) sperm per ml.

Total sperm count is the total number of sperm found in provided semen sample.

What Is Considered Normal?

About 39,000,000 (or 39 x 10^6) sperm per ejaculate is considered the lower acceptable limit.


What Is It?

Motility is the percentage of sperm that move. For fertilisation to occur, sperm must swim up the female reproductive tract to meet the egg. Being able to swim to their destination is essential. Total motility refers to any movement, while progressive motility refers to forward movement in either a line or in a large circle.

What Is Considered Normal?

At least 40% of the sperm should be moving, and at least 32% should swim in a forward movement or in large circles.


What Is It?

Sperm morphology refers to the shape of the sperm cells. Our scientists closely examine a sample of sperm, checking to see approximately what percentage have a normal shape. The head, mid-section and tail are evaluated, as well as the measurements and proportions between each.

What Is Considered Normal?

At least 4% should have a normal shape.

What if your results are abnormal?

One abnormal sperm analysis result is not necessarily a sign of infertility. Because so many factors can lead to a poor result, such as recent illness or even stress over the test, we do allow men to repeat the test.

It is also important to note that even if you are not accepted onto our donor program based on your repeat sperm analysis, it still doesn’t necessarily mean that you are infertile, because to become a sperm donor, the acceptance criteria is slightly above the normal ranges.

Our next blog post will give some of the reasons why an abnormal result could occur, so we hope that you will check back to conclude our sperm analysis lesson.