Sperm Motility

Your Semen Analysis: Sperm Motility

MotilityThey are called swimmers for a reason. Sperm cells are one of nature’s great fascinations. In order to make a baby, they must make an incredible journey traversing toxic obstacles, a labyrinth full of dead ends and sneak past white blood cells that stand guard before reaching the awaiting egg. For life to happen, a sperm cell must be good at swimming. Unfortunately, there are a lot of things that can cause sperm to not swim very well or at all. Because of this, motility is a standard measurement taken during a semen analysis. This article explains how sperm motility is measured, how many motile sperm are necessary for conception, causes of low motility and what men can try to do to improve sperm health.

How Many Swimmers Do You Need to Make a Baby?

Ultimately, just one. But, that’s the smartass answer. In reality, fertilization is like a game of darts with bad eyesight. Sperm have some idea of where to go (due to hormones excreted by the egg) but due to the difficulty of the journey, most end up swimming into nothing. For a better chance of hitting the bullseye, you’d probably want to send in more than one. Andrologists have done a great deal of research to understand the optimal number of motile sperm you’d want to send in. But, remember, it isn’t a strict number you need to get someone pregnant, numbers just represent chances of getting pregnant (hitting the bullseye). In the end, conception can happen against great odds or doesn’t happen even under optimal circumstances. Studies show that sometimes pregnancy can even with low numbers of motile sperm. It also has been shown to NOT happen even when a man has tons of swimmers.

How Motility is Measured During a Semen Analysis

Measuring sperm motility can be a difficult task. Typically, sperm cells are counted and categorized by both speed and direction of movement. To understand the challenge, imagine you were to take a swat at a beehive and record how many bees flew away in a straight line and how many hovered around. Because analyzing sperm motility is difficult, there is a lot of variation from lab to lab and from report to report. You should understand that motility numbers need to be taken with a grain of salt because the numbers are a bit fuzzy, and that’s because the field is full of inconsistent and sometimes subjective methods and standards.

No matter the counting method, the semen sample has to be collected. Collection done right is crucial, and we’ve discussed this elsewhere, but here’s a quick recap. First, is making a high quality sample. Prepare to drink lots of water, and to try your best to get excited (difficult to do if you’re collecting in a doctor’s office). Abstain from ejaculation 2-10 days before producing a semen sample for analysis. While collecting the sample, avoid lotions, lubricants or oils as most are toxic to sperm and can cause results. Make sure you collect all of the ejaculate, especially the first part; that has most of the sperm. Finally, the motility analysis should be done soon. Sperm motility decreases the longer it is outside your body, so be sure the sample is analyzed within 1-2 hours of collection.

Standard Motility Analysis Technique

In the “standard” method, a technician uses a regular microscope slide to count about 100 cells[1]. Of those 100 cells, the technician categorizes them into:

Non-motile: these sperm are not moving. On a semen analysis report, this will sometimes be abbreviated as IM or be called “immotile” or “grade d.”

Non-progressive motile: sperm that are moving but not going anywhere; they are just wiggling, also labeled as NP or “slow” or “grade c.”

Progressive motile: sperm that are moving and actually getting somewhere. Also called PR, or “fast.” Some semen analysis methods call for the technician to divide these progressively motile cells into 2-3 subcategories. You will still sometimes see “grade a/b” or “medium/fast” on such reports. Some believe that judging these subcategories by sight is too subjective, but some extremely well-trained technicians can categorize by sight quite well.

Since the technician counts 100 cells, the number counted for each category represents the percentage of sperm that fall into each category. The technician counts another 100 cells on another slide and makes sure the numbers make sense before reporting to the doctor or patient.

There are some drawbacks to this method, however. One is the obvious human error. A technician counts by looking at the cells under a microscope in a field of view. Sometimes, they can be mistaken. Only well-trained technicians end up being precise[2], [3]. Inexperienced ones can make a lot of mistakes. Because the work is mentally challenging, even well-trained technicians can get tired when straining their eyes to count sperm. Another major source of error is called a statistical sampling error—the idea that the fields of view they’re looking at may not be representative of the whole semen sample. To reduce sampling error, a technician can count more cells, but often if they do, the operator fatigue becomes a bigger factor.

Computer Aided Motility Analysis

To solve operator fatigue, and to remove subjective errors due to judgement calls in determining what is and isn’t progressive, non-progressive, or immotile, andrologists often use cameras and computers to reduce these problems. A camera recording of a microscopic view can help in having multiple eyes look over a sample, and confirm that the numbers are correct. Additionally, operator fatigue and subjectivity can be reduced by simply having a computer do the counting. Such methods are known as Computer-Aided Semen Analysis, or CASA [4].
CASA comes in multiple brands and packages and, depending on what kind your doctor has, is able to measure a bunch of different things about the semen samples. When looking at motile cells, CASA offers a distinct advantage over manual methods[5],[6]. Computers are able to take a recording of a field of sperm, and determine not only which ones are moving, but how fast and in what manner they are moving. The CASA system is then able to take those individual readings and compile them into some summary numbers that gives information about the motile cells being observed. Sometimes, the individual speed measurements for your sperm are measured, and then categorized. You might sometimes see different categories, and numbers associated with the motile categories. Different CASA systems use different thresholds for each category. A common threshold for differentiating sperm speeds is 25 μm/s.[7]

Clearly our benevolent and all-knowing Skynet overlords are infallible. Meh. No. Computers are dumb. CASA has its pitfalls. Andrologists have to make sure that the CASA they’re using is calibrated. Comparing results from different CASA systems can sometimes be difficult[6], [8], [9]. Cameras that record at different speeds sometimes report very different numbers[8] for the same sample. Computer algorithms that calculate VAP (how fast the sperm is swimming) could differ ever so slightly and result in different numbers even for the same sample.[10] There’s no fixed standard for categorizing sperm speed. CASA sometimes mistakenly counts non-sperm debris in your semen as sperm, tending to overestimate the total count (and thus underestimating % motile). The most reliable and consistent number in CASA systems, is concentration of all motile sperm. This number has the highest consistency between systems, camera types, and algorithms. CASA is at least great at finding the moving cells.

Recording Motility Measurement on the Semen Analysis Report

So, motility measurements have their hangups. As a result, the numbers on what you’re supposed to expect are a little inconsistent from study to study. The World Health Organization standards,[1] which is used as the gold standard, requires andrologists to report percent motile cells, rather than cell concentration, so most studies only report percent motile. This leaves the motile concentration and total motile count a mystery in big summary studies.[11]–[14] This is a problem because studies showing the likelihood of getting pregnant show that motile concentration and total motile count, rather than percentage,[7], [15] is the most important factor to look at for motility.

No matter what method being used, your semen analysis report you receive from your doctor will contain similar numbers. However, the manner in which motility numbers are reported can sometimes differ, depending on what philosophies of semen analysis your doctor or andrologist ascribes to. Below are some terms that you might see on a semen analysis report. This list is not expansive, so if you see a term on your own report that you are not familiar with, you should ask the doctor who ordered the test to clarify.

% Motile: This is the most common number you’ll see reported. This is the percent of cells that are motile. You’ll also see this number divided into other classes, such as progressive motile, etc. However, this number does not tell you how many motile sperm you have in total in your semen.

Motile Concentration: The number of cells that are motile in a volume of semen. Usually reported in cells per milliliter (cells/mL) or millions of cells per milliliter (M/mL or × 106cells/mL). You can calculate motile concentration by multiplying the sperm concentration by the % motile.

Total motile sperm count (TMSC): The total amount of motile sperm in your ejaculate. This is calculated if the volume of your total ejaculate is also measured. This is essentially a measure of your “full load” of motile cells you’d be delivering in an ejaculate. Recent studies suggest that this is probably the most important number[7], [15], [16] in your semen analysis report. This number can also be divided into different grades. It is super easy (and much more accurate) for a CASA to divide your sperm cells into “fast” or “slow” using clear speed cut-off values. If this number is not present on your report, you can calculate this number yourself.

VAP: Average path velocity. Sperm wiggle around as they move, but they have a general path they’re moving in. This number is the average speed the sperm is moving at along that general path. This is often report in microns per second, or μm/s.

Calculating your Total Motile Sperm Count

If you have your volume measurement and your motile concentration measurement, it can be calculated by the following:

TMSC = Motile concentration × Semen volume

If you only have % motile, you need use your total sperm concentration to calculate TMSC:

TMSC=(% motile)/100 ×Total sperm concentration × Semen volume

How Many Swimmers Does It Take to Make a Baby?

The amount of motile sperm you make has a strong correlation with being able to get a woman pregnant. It is also not the only important factor. Other factors include total sperm concentration, morphology, etc. Semen analyses need to be taken in as a whole rather than depend on one single number. The consensus on motility seems to focus on TMSC, which is the total load of motile cells delivered in an ejaculate.

One large study of subfertile couples indicates that chances of pregnancy increase substantially when the man’s TMSC is above 5 million cells [15]. Many andrologists classify categories of fertility based entirely on TMSC. The categories are as follows:

Less than 1 million TMSC. This category represents severely low motile counts (also called severe asthenozoospermia). A doctor might recommend to use advanced assisted reproduction methods such as ICSI, which involves injecting sperm directly into an egg.

1 to 5 million TMSC. This category represents moderately low motile counts (sometimes just called asthenozoospermia). A doctor might still recommend assisted reproductive methods like IVF or IUI to achieve pregnancy.

5 to 20 million TMSC. This category means you’re low, but natural pregnancies are still likely within 2 years. A doctor might still recommend IUI to achieve pregnancy.

Above 20 million TMSC. This category means you’re “normal” in terms of motility. If you are still having trouble conceiving, other fertility factors besides motility should be looked at to see if the problem lies elsewhere.

These categories are usually just guides that doctors use to decide if you’d be in need of fertility treatment options, and don’t represent clear cut offs. Studies show that increasing TMSC generally correlates with increasing chances of pregnancies [7], [11], [17].

Is my sperm motility normal?

The best answer comes from the World Health Organization, which reports worldwide measures of semen parameters. The WHO reports motility only in percentage, so it is difficult to say what the typical total motile count is. In general, 50% of men worldwide have a total motile percentage above 61%. Only 5% have less than 40% motility measurement, so if you’re below that, this might cause concern.

Motility tends to decrease with age, with it peaking sometime before age 25 and gradually lowering over time [18]. Additionally, some men experience seasonal variations in their motility measurements [19], due to the importance of temperature on sperm production.

What Could Go Wrong?

Low motility numbers is referred to as asthenospermia. Asthenozoospermia can range from zero motile sperm to low numbers. The WHO defines asthenozoospermia as falling below 40% motility, but some prefer 20 million total motile count as a measure instead [1], [15].

In the general population, many men in Western countries suffer from suboptimal semen quality, as much as nearly 80% have some aspect of their semen analysis below optimal numbers [20]. It is not clear what percentage of that were due to low motility. However, by looking at subfertile or men diagnosed as infertile, we can see how low motility can impact fertility. 81.4% of one large population of men diagnosed with infertility have astenozoospermia [21].

Furthermore, your motility numbers and other semen parameters can all be normal but you might still have a problem with motility. The limitations of laboratory measurements means that there’s lots of factors missing when a technician analyzes your semen. Perhaps your sperm can’t survive the environment of your partner’s body, or your sperm have something wrong with their hyperactivation mechanism, the process where a sperm senses an egg nearby and goes into turbo-motility mode [22].

What Causes Low Motility?

The causes are many, and we can only briefly describe them here. Watch for follow-up articles that go more in-depth.

Genetic factors can produce low or non-existent motility. Some genes that directly make the sperm move (such as proteins in the tail) can be mutated [23], the production factory in your testicles could be mutated, or some metabolic diseases can cause impaired sperm production by causing your body’s hormones or nutrition to be out of whack, also causing you to make immotile sperm in the testicles [24].

Next, there’s metabolic and environmental factors. What you eat or what condition your body is in may affect motility. Sickness [24], poor nutrition [25], smoking [26], heat exposure, and toxin exposure [27] all could impact motile sperm count.

What can be done about low motility?

If you’ve found you have genetic-based reason for low motility, treatment might be possible for some hormonal disorders, but often you’d need to resort to assisted reproduction techniques if you have a genetic reason for low or no motility.

Environmental factors can be changed, and that sometimes has an impact on count and motile count. Avoiding cigarettes, alchohol, heat, and eating healthier can sometimes improve motile count. Some supplements can also boost motile counts. Antioxidant vitamins, such as Vitamin A, E, or C can have a positive impact on motility [28]. Vitamin D promotes the factors that directly cause sperm tails to wiggle, and intake of that vitamin can also have benefits for your motility [29].

Keep in mind, that when you are getting checked up on your semen parameters, that motility count is super important, but it is not the sole deciding factor in your ability to get pregnant. Read up on all these other factors, such as morphology, total count, and semen quality elsewhere.


[1] WHO, “WHO laboratory manual for the examination and processing of human semen,” World Health, vol. 5th Ed., p. 286, 2010.[2] A. a Pacey, “Quality assurance and quality control in the laboratory andrology.,” Asian J. Androl., vol. 12, no. 1, pp. 21–5, 2010.[3] C. H. Yeung, T. G. Cooper, and E. Nieschlag, “A technique for standardization and quality control of subjective sperm motility assessments in semen analysis.,” Fertil. Steril., vol. 67, no. 6, pp. 1156–1158, 1997.[4] S. T. Mortimer, “CASA–practical aspects.,” J. Androl., vol. 21, no. 4, pp. 515–524, 2000.[5] R. P. Amann and D. Waberski, “Computer-assisted sperm analysis (CASA): Capabilities and potential developments,” Theriogenology, vol. 81, no. 1, pp. 5–17, 2014.[6] W. Krause, “Computer-assisted semen analysis systems: comparison with routine evaluation and prognostic value in male fertility and assisted reproduction.,” Hum. Reprod., vol. 10 Suppl 1, pp. 60–6, 1995.[7] L. Larsen, T. Scheike, T. K. Jensen, J. P. Bonde, E. Ernst, N. H. Hjollund, Y. Zhou, N. E. Skakkebaek, and A. Giwercman, “Computer-assisted semen analysis parameters as predictors for fertility of men from the general population. The Danish First Pregnancy Planner Study Team.,” Hum. Reprod., vol. 15, no. 7, pp. 1562–1567, 2000.[8] S. Boryshpolets, R. K. Kowalski, G. J. Dietrich, B. Dzyuba, and A. Ciereszko, “Different computer-assisted sperm analysis (CASA) systems highly influence sperm motility parameters.,” Theriogenology, vol. 80, no. 7, pp. 758–65, 2013.[9] M. J. Tomlinson, K. Pooley, T. Simpson, T. Newton, J. Hopkisson, K. Jayaprakasan, R. Jayaprakasan, A. Naeem, and T. Pridmore, “Validation of a novel computer-assisted sperm analysis (CASA) system using multitarget-tracking algorithms,” Fertil. Steril., vol. 93, no. 6, pp. 1911–1920, 2010.[10] D. Mortimer, “ComputerAided Sperm Analysis and Sperm Kinematics,” in Practical Laboratory Andrology, Oxford University Press, 1994, pp. 135–143.[11] G. M. Buck Louis, R. Sundaram, E. F. Schisterman, A. Sweeney, C. D. Lynch, S. Kim, J. M. Maisog, R. Gore-Langton, M. L. Eisenberg, and Z. Chen, “Semen quality and time to pregnancy: the Longitudinal Investigation of Fertility and the Environment Study.,” Fertil. Steril., vol. 101, no. 2, pp. 453–62, 2014.[12] J. S. Youn, S. H. Cha, C. W. Park, K. M. Yang, J. Y. Kim, M. K. Koong, I. S. Kang, I. O. Song, and S. C. Han, “Predictive value of sperm motility characteristics assessed by computer-assisted sperm analysis in intrauterine insemination with superovulation in couples with unexplained infertility.,” Clin. Exp. Reprod. Med., vol. 38, no. 1, pp. 47–52, 2011.[13] C. L. Barratt, M. J. Tomlinson, and I. D. Cooke, “Prognostic significance of computerized motility analysis for in vivo fertility,” Fertil. Steril., vol. 60, no. 3, pp. 520–525, 1993.[14] D. S. Guzick, J. W. Overstreet, P. Factor-Litvak, C. K. Brazil, S. T. Nakajima, C. Coutifaris, S. A. Carson, P. Cisneros, M. P. Steinkampf, J. A. Hill, D. Xu, and D. L. Vogel, “Sperm morphology, motility, and concentration in fertile and infertile men.,” N. Engl. J. Med., vol. 345, no. 19, pp. 1388–1393, 2001.[15] J. a M. Hamilton, M. Cissen, M. Brandes, J. M. J. Smeenk, J. P. de Bruin, J. a M. Kremer, W. L. D. M. Nelen, and C. J. C. M. Hamilton, “Total motile sperm count: a better indicator for the severity of male factor infertility than the WHO sperm classification system.,” Hum. Reprod., vol. 30, no. 5, pp. 1110–21, 2015.[16] M. Brandes, C. J. C. M. Hamilton, J. O. M. van der Steen, J. P. de Bruin, R. S. G. M. Bots, W. L. D. M. Nelen, and J. a M. Kremer, “Severity of oligo-asteno-teratozoospermia no longer determines overall success rate in male subfertility.,” Int. J. Androl., vol. 34, no. 6 Pt 1, pp. 614–23, 2011.[17] M. J. Zinaman, C. C. Brown, S. G. Selevan, and E. D. Clegg, “Semen quality and human fertility: a prospective study with healthy couples.,” J. Androl., vol. 21, no. 1, pp. 145–53, 2000.[18] E. Levitas, E. Lunenfeld, N. Weisz, M. Friger, and G. Potashnik, “Relationship between age and semen parameters in men with normal sperm concentration: Analysis of 6022 semen samples,” Andrologia, vol. 39, no. 2, pp. 45–50, 2007.[19] G. M. Centola and S. Eberly, “Seasonal variations and age-related changes in human sperm count, motility, motion parameters, morphology, and white blood cell concentration,” Fertil. Steril., vol. 72, no. 5, pp. 803–808, 1999.[20] N. Jørgensen, U. N. Joensen, T. K. Jensen, M. B. Jensen, K. Almstrup, I. A. Olesen, A. Juul, A.-M. Andersson, E. Carlsen, J. H. Petersen, J. Toppari, and N. E. Skakkebæk, “Human semen quality in the new millennium: a prospective cross-sectional population-based study of 4867 men.,” BMJ Open, vol. 2, no. 4, p. e000990–, 2012.[21] S. M. CURI, J. I. ARIAGNO, P. H. CHENLO, G. R. MENDELUK, M. N. PUGLIESE, L. M. SARDI SEGOVIA, H. E. H. REPETTO, and A. M. BLANCO, “ASTHENOZOOSPERMIA: ANALYSIS OF A LARGE POPULATION,” Syst. Biol. Reprod. Med., vol. 49, no. 5, pp. 343–349, 2003.[22] R. M. Turner, “Moving to the beat: A review of mammalian sperm motility regulation,” Reprod. Fertil. Dev., vol. 18, no. 1–2, pp. 25–38, 2006.[23] L. Visser, G. H. Westerveld, F. Xie, S. K. M. Van Daalen, F. Van Der Veen, M. P. Lombardi, and S. Repping, “A comprehensive gene mutation screen in men with asthenozoospermia,” Fertil. Steril., vol. 95, no. 3, pp. 1020–1024.e9, 2011.[24] R. C. Martin-Du Pan, P. Bischof, A. Campana, A. Morabia, M.-D. P. R.C., B. P., C. A., and M. A., “Relationship between etiological factors and total motile sperm count in 350 infertile patients,” Arch Androl, vol. 39, no. 3, pp. 197–210, 1997.[25] P. Piomboni, R. Focarelli, a. Stendardi, a. Ferramosca, and V. Zara, “The role of mitochondria in energy production for human sperm motility,” Int. J. Androl., vol. 35, no. 2, pp. 109–124, 2012.[26] a. M. E. de Jong, R. Menkveld, J. W. Lens, S. E. Nienhuis, and J. P. T. Rhemrev, “Effect of alcohol intake and cigarette smoking on sperm parameters and pregnancy,” Andrologia, vol. 46, pp. 112–117, 2014.[27] H. Oliveira, M. Spanò, C. Santos, and M. D. L. Pereira, “Lead chloride affects sperm motility and acrosome reaction in mice : LLead affects mice sperm motility and acrosome reaction,” Cell Biol. Toxicol., vol. 25, pp. 341–353, 2009.[28] B. Eskenazi, S. a. Kidd, a. R. Marks, E. Sloter, G. Block, and a. J. Wyrobek, “Antioxidant intake is associated with semen quality in healthy men,” Hum. Reprod., vol. 20, no. 4, pp. 1006–1012, 2005.[29] M. Blomberg Jensen, P. J. Bjerrum, T. E. Jessen, J. E. Nielsen, U. N. Joensen, I. a Olesen, J. H. Petersen, A. Juul, S. Dissing, and N. Jørgensen, “Vitamin D is positively associated with sperm motility and increases intracellular calcium in human spermatozoa.,” Hum. Reprod., vol. 26, no. 6, pp. 1307–17, 2011.


Scientist passionate about sperm, chemistry, microbiology & baking bread.

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2017-02-13T23:19:57+00:00 Semen Analysis|72 Comments


  1. Soso July 5, 2017 at 3:50 pm - Reply

    Sir please help me to analyze my husbands semen analysis if Its okay we have been trying for a baby for seven months now since Dec 2016, we meet at least 3 times weekly he is 35 and I am 29
    Appearance:greyish white and av. Viscuous.
    Volume 3.0ml
    Actively motile 15%
    Sluggish motile 25%
    Non motile 60%
    Normal 35%
    Abnormal 65%
    Sperm cell 14million/ml

    • Sara SDx July 20, 2017 at 8:24 pm - Reply

      Count and active motile are a little lower than I like to see. His monthly chances are lower but it is not impossible to conceive with these numbers. I’d recommend filing out our risk assessment questionnaire or downloading an app called “trak sperm” to get a list of things that could impact his fertility and ways to improve.

  2. John Willy May 25, 2017 at 3:12 pm - Reply

    Please i would like to know if my SA is ok been trying to get my wife pregnant with no result..I’m 33 years old.
    Appearance: GRAY
    Viscosity: LOW
    Volume: 4MLS
    P.H: 7.5
    Motility: 85%
    Acitve: 80%
    Sluggish: 05%
    Dead: 15%
    Normal: 70%
    Abnormal: 30%
    PUS Cell: 4-5HPF
    Count: 32×10/6

    • Sara SDx May 25, 2017 at 9:05 pm - Reply

      Looks pretty healthy. How long have you been trying? How often do you have sex on average?

      • John Willy May 25, 2017 at 10:07 pm - Reply

        Thanks for your urgent response.

        We got married in 2016, will be 1 year in August but we don’t stay togther. My wife live in another country and i travelled down every 6months and spent 2months everytime i visit.
        We had sex sometimes twice in a week but when it close to her ovulation period we abscond from sex for like a week. But my only concern is the spern count is it too low?

        • Sara SDx June 2, 2017 at 3:42 pm - Reply

          I generally like to see counts above 50-60 million. But in your case, you have 4ml so your total count is in the healthy range.

          If you abstain close to the ovulation period you may reduce your chances of conception. It would be a good idea to have sex 2-3 times in the week before her ovulation if you would like to get pregnant.

          Because you are apart from each other it may take longer for you to get pregnant.

          You may want to test again in a few months to make sure that you are still in healthy range.

          • John1234502 June 3, 2017 at 8:42 pm

            Thank you Sara when i did my first Sperm Analysis last year August in my country my count was 55×10/6 and the doctor says the count is not ok that am 1 million less and when i did another one and i see 32×100/6 and was surprise and now he says the sperm was suppose to be between 50-300million and i ask him but you told me last year that 55×100/6 that i have before is not ok. I guess i need to find a good fertility to do another one here in the states…can you recommend a good place to go around Memephis, TN if you have any please let me know.
            Thank you

          • Sara SDx June 5, 2017 at 6:22 pm

            In general, it is good to try to boost sperm count above 50-60 million / mL. If you have been trying to conceive for a while I would also recommend that your wife get an evaluation by a fertility doctor.

            For more advice on your side, you can reach out to:

            Mark Saslawsky, MD
            7420 Guthrie Drive North
            Suite 11
            Southaven, MS 38671

            Phone: (662) 349-2220

      • John1234502 June 1, 2017 at 5:10 pm - Reply

        Still waiting for your response Sara.

  3. humphrey May 23, 2017 at 9:19 pm - Reply

    Am humphrey I have trying for 7 months now. My sperm analysis is immobile 95%,sluggish 5% active.0%, volume 3ml, viscosity moderate, morphology 60% normal and 40% abnormal. Pls analysend wat do I do…I have just taken supplement for 2 months now

    • Sara SDx May 25, 2017 at 3:52 pm - Reply

      What is the sperm count?

      Have you filled out this questionnaire or downloaded this app? They can give you additional ideas of things you can do to continue to improve your sperm.

      You can also read this article on 20 ways to improve your sperm.

  4. Zara May 15, 2017 at 11:37 am - Reply

    Please ,this is my husband seminal fluid result. Is it OK for conception?
    Appearance -Clear yellow
    Viscosity- watery
    Sperm count- 51.0million/ml
    Sperm motility – 45%
    Normal form sperm- 88%
    RBC seminal fluid- 1/hpf
    WBC seminal fluid- 1/hpf.
    Sperm progression -Rapid linear progression

  5. DJ May 12, 2017 at 9:54 pm - Reply

    Hello Dr,

    Can you please help me understand how my results are?

    Volume: 5.6 mL
    Sperm Concentration: 14.79 Milion
    Percent Motility: 47.57%
    Total Motility Sperm Count: 39.4 Milion
    Percent Progressive Motility: 47.47%
    Liquefaction: Greater than 30 min
    Viscosity: Normal
    pH: 8
    Agglutination: Light
    Round Cells:
    Temperature: 37
    Percent Normal Morphology: 1%

    I know the numbers especially the Morphology rate is very low and below the normal. How about the rest? I’m 33 years old, don’t smoke or drink. Are there any chances for medications or life style changes can help increase the numbers and chances to be a father?


    • Sara SDx May 16, 2017 at 5:25 pm - Reply

      It’s lower than I like to see but not terrible.

      Some ideas.
      1. You might think about getting checked for a varicocele.

      2. I would read through this list of simple ways to boost sperm count and see if anything stands out as a lifestyle change.

      3. Diet is pretty important. If you are lacking in vitamins or antioxidants it can cause issues. Here’s some detailed info on how diet impacts male fertility.

      4. You might want to consider tracking sperm to see if you can see improvements to sperm over time.

      5. You might consider cooling your balls.


      • DJ June 4, 2017 at 11:57 pm - Reply

        Thank you! That’s is really helpful.

  6. semko April 27, 2017 at 11:51 pm - Reply

    Hi Sara
    I am Semko, thanks for response, in 1 year ago l had several intercourse without any conrtaceptive, but my wife have PCOD (poly cystic ovary disease) and consume “Duphaston 10 mg” for regulate cyclic periods.With this pill my wife periods are totally regular. 4 weeks ago my wife did HSG (Hysterosalpingography) that was normal. In ultrasound determined that Ovarian follicles are small and not mature but still our doctor dont start “Clomiphene” for stimulate ovulation.

    • Sara SDx April 28, 2017 at 9:20 pm - Reply

      I can’t comment on your wife’s side. It seems like she has some issues that could be making it hard to conceive. Your doctor seems to be doing the right tests and doing things to try to help. You could consider getting a second opinion from another doctor if you’d like more advice for what to do to improve ovulation.

      There are quite a few resources on the internet that help women with PCOD learn ways that they can help improve their ovulation cycles. I would recommend reading about these because if you can make changes in your life together that help support health, the medication can be more effective.

      • semko April 29, 2017 at 10:18 am - Reply

        Hi dear Sara
        Thanks alot for your advice & help

  7. semko April 26, 2017 at 5:13 pm - Reply

    HI dear Sara
    I am Semko , 31 years old
    my semen analysis is:
    Semen Volume: 3.2 ml
    Semen PH: 7.8
    Sperm count (Density): 148.4 million/ml
    Progressive (A + B): 38.8
    Motile(A + B + C): 92.7
    Normal Morphology: 79%
    Please tell me this spermogram is suitable for pregnancy? Because in my semen analysis progressive (A + B) or (fast + slow) is 38.8% that below 40%[according to Speed Assysment W.H.O – 2010 in my labratory was done] but in newest version semen analysis (5th) of W.H.O criteria for normal progressive is 30 % !!!! I am so cofused
    please tell me which of them is correct 30 or 40%? and my semen analysis is normal ?

    • Sara SDx April 27, 2017 at 5:04 pm - Reply

      This is totally a number looking result. I wouldn’t be worried about it. Are you currently trying to conceive?

      • semko April 27, 2017 at 11:54 pm - Reply

        Hi Sara
        I am Semko, thanks for response, in 1 year ago l had several intercourse without any conrtaceptive, but my wife have PCOD (poly cystic ovary disease) and consume “Duphaston 10 mg” for regulate cyclic periods.With this pill my wife periods are totally regular. 4 weeks ago my wife did HSG (Hysterosalpingography) that was normal. In ultrasound determined that Ovarian follicles are small and not mature but still our doctor dont start “Clomiphene” for stimulate ovulation.

  8. rahul April 11, 2017 at 8:46 pm - Reply

    Hi Maam, not able to understand the semen analysis report.. can u plz help. Is all good or bad ?

    Age 32, Abstinence days 12 days

    Total sperm concentration is 32 million ,volume 3.50 ml,liquefaction time 40 mtes, Viscosity is thick. Motility is 60 %. Progressive motile 20%, non progressive motile 40%, immotile 40%, aggluatination is positive, plus cells 5 – 7, Normal morphology 70%, abnormal morphology 30%, head defects 15%, neck and midpiece 10%, tail defecets 5 %, semen fructose … apperance : viscid opaque, colour whitish,

    • Sara SDx April 19, 2017 at 4:42 pm - Reply

      It is normal but on the lower side. There may be things you can do to improve. Try filling out this quiz to see what your potential risks are.

  9. Katrina April 8, 2017 at 12:36 pm - Reply

    hi …my husband seen analysis test result is
    appearance – whitish opaque
    consistency – liquid
    total volume – 3 ml
    ph – 8.0
    leucocytes 1-3
    total count – 40
    motility – motile 40
    sluggish 30
    non motile 30
    morphology normal head form 60% abnormal is 40%
    i want to know is it ok for iui .
    tks u 🙂

    • Katrina April 8, 2017 at 12:38 pm - Reply

      Semen Analysis*

    • Sara SDx April 19, 2017 at 3:45 pm - Reply

      It’s ok for IUI

  10. F March 22, 2017 at 5:19 pm - Reply

    Dear doctor,

    I would like to have your opinion about my last semen analysis:
    volume: 1.9 ml, concentration 192.5 M/ml, total sperm count/ejaculate: 365.75 M, total motility: 40 %, prog. motility: 10 %, vitality: 88 %, normal forms: 79 %. Does this results allow a natural pregnency?

    Regards and thank you.

  11. uddin38 March 22, 2017 at 4:20 pm - Reply


    We have been trying to conceive since 1 year but with no positive results.

    I did a semen test today. Please I would like to know if my semen analysis result is normal or bad.

    Viscosity = normal
    Volume = 2.6 ml
    Colour = normal
    pH = 7.70
    Sperm Count (SF) = 30.60Mil./ml
    Morphology = 47.00%
    Immature Forms = 5.40%
    Mobillity-30mins = 39.00%
    Mobillity-60mins = 51.00%
    Mobillity-90mins = 46.00%
    Mobillity-120mins = 38.00%
    Av. WBC = 3-5 HPF
    Av. RBC = 0
    Av. Macrophages = 0
    Av. Epithelial Cells = 0
    Crystals = Absent
    Clumping = Absent
    Prog. Useful Motility = 50%
    Sperm Motility Index (SMI) = 137.00
    The total functional Sperm Conc. (TFSC) = 10.80 Mil./ml

    Thank you.

    • uddin38 March 22, 2017 at 4:22 pm - Reply

      I made a typing mistake: My Prog. Useful Motility is 36.00% instead of 50.00%

    • Sara SDx April 19, 2017 at 3:15 pm - Reply

      Your results are in the normal range but they are on the lower side and could be contributing to a longer time to getting pregnant.
      Has your partner also been evaluated?

      I might recommend getting this app to see if you can take steps to improve your sperm. It might help you get pregnant quicker.

  12. Mary March 10, 2017 at 8:58 am - Reply

    Hi, my husband just tested his first sperm, here is the result,

    Volume 1.5ml
    Concentration 5mil
    Spermatozoa, immotile 64%
    Spernatozoa, nonprogressive 33%
    spermatozoa, progressive 3%
    Total motile sperm count 0 million
    Spermatozoa, normal morphology 2%
    total sperm/ejaculation 8mill
    Seperm, total motile (progressive & nonprogressive) 36%

    This is bad, right? We have been trying to get pregnant for almost 3 years now (one miscarriage a year ago) and we are finally doing all the infertility tests. But my question is, we already have 2 kids (5 & 3 years old), and I also had one miscarriage before my first child. And with all of the 3 pregnancies, we got pregnant pretty quickly. (First month with first 2 pregnancies, and 4th month with my second child). Is it possible that his sperm got bad so fast like that? and What can be the cause for that? If you can reply, we really appreciate it. Thank you very much,

    • Sara SDx March 13, 2017 at 2:34 pm - Reply

      These are pretty low results.

      The thing about sperm count is that it can change over time in response to health and lifestyle.

      A few thoughts —

      1. Has your husband had a fever recently? Or has he gained weight, changed his diet, picked up any bad health habits in the past year? What’s his stress level been like? You can download this app to see if there are potential issues that could be contributing

      2. Some men have a condition called a varicocele which is an enlarged bundle of veins in the scrotum (like varicose viens) Generally varicoceles get worse as men age and they are a leading cause of secondary infertility in men. If he is in great health and doesn’t have any obvious reason for his sperm quality to go down, I would recommend getting checked for that.

      3. It might not be a bad idea to get a full work up from a urologist. There could be something underlying that is happening with his health that could be impacting his sperm. These results are low enough that in most cases I recommend a full evaluation because something medical might be going on.

      4. It is worth noting that sometimes sperm can contribute to miscarriages. Especially if they are early.

  13. Aashir February 13, 2017 at 10:43 pm - Reply

    Hi Sara.

    We have been trying to conceive for a year but could not achieve it. This month we are trying by IUI. Can you analyze this semen report before and after wash:

    Pre Wash

    Volume: 4 ml
    Concentration: 14 Million/ml
    Motility: Progression (Type II): 7% Sluggish 43% Total: 50%
    Agglutination: None
    Colour: Normal
    Viscosity: Normal
    PH: 8
    Comments: Normal Sperms seen.

    Post Wash
    Concentration: 4Million/ml
    Motility: Progression 30% Sluggish 60% = Total 90%

    • Sara SDx February 28, 2017 at 1:36 am - Reply

      It looks like a good sample for an IUI. How did it go?
      Do you have any specific questions?

  14. B Woodson January 9, 2017 at 7:40 pm - Reply

    Hello I would like to no about my semen analysis. Volume .8 ml PH 8 count 138,000,000. Total motility 80% progressive motility 30% morphology 13%. We have been trying for a baby for two years and haven’t conceived. Are we able to with those numbers yes or no

    • Sara SDx January 11, 2017 at 9:35 pm - Reply

      volume is a little low but the other numbers are pretty good. How long was abstenece period before this test? Were you able to collect the whole sample?

      Have both of you had a work-up? Are cycles regular? Do you have intercourse regularly?

  15. lil December 15, 2016 at 7:37 pm - Reply

    Hello please I would like to know if my semen analysis result is normal or bad?

    Volume 2ml
    Colour white-gray
    pH 7.5
    Scent specific
    Turbidity weakly turbid
    Consistence в’язка
    Viscosity 5cm
    Total sperm concentration 81million / ml
    The total number of sperm ejaculate 162 Million
    Fast progressive motility (A) 14%
    Slow progressive motility (B) 21%
    Progressive motility (A + B) 35%
    Normal sperm morphology (A + B) 33%
    The concentration of functional sperm 26 Million
    The concentration of sperm progressive mobility 28million
    concentration fixed sperm 53%
    The total number of sperm progressive mobility 56%
    The total number of functional sperm 53%
    Total number of motionless and progressive sperm 106 Million
    The average speed (A + B) moving 33 m/s мкм/сек
    Index normal mobile 181217
    Non-progressive motility (C) 20%
    Still sperm 45%
    White blood cells 1-2 v p/z
    Red blood cells Not found
    lipid bodies: a small number
    Urethral epithelial cells : a small number

    • Sara SDx January 10, 2017 at 5:24 pm - Reply

      Sorry I am only just responding now. I’ve been traveling for the last month and haven’t had good internet access…
      Looks ok. Is there something that worries you specifically?

  16. Dens December 13, 2016 at 10:50 am - Reply

    Hii sir, I am 35 years old my sperm quantity 4.5 ml . No of sperm per ejaculate 180 million.total forward progressive 55%. Non progressive 05%
    Non motile 4% at half hour .
    R.b.c occasional
    Round cells 2-3/ hpf
    Pus cells 1-2/ hpf
    Abnormal 40%
    Pls let me know about my results

  17. Sunday November 13, 2016 at 8:11 am - Reply

    Comment…Hello I’m sunny and we been trying 2 years now until it was discover I had varicocele and I’ve done the repair surgical on 6th of July 2016. before the repair this is my test results done 25th of June. volume: 1.5ml, Morphology 20%, Ab – 80%( 75% dead cell, 5% pin head) Motility – 40% count 12 million. Test done after repair 12 Nov, Volume – 2ml, Morphology – 80%, Ab 20%( 15% dead cell, 5% pin head) Motility – 55% Count 18 millions. with this result is there progress what should I do next. Thanks

    • Sara SDx December 15, 2016 at 5:48 am - Reply

      Looks like it is improving on all fronts. How is your overall health? Do you have any unhealthy habits? Are you exposed to heat, toxins, alcohol or cigarettes?

      How is your partner? Does she have any issues?

    • Sara SDx December 21, 2016 at 3:58 pm - Reply

      There is some progress. Sometimes healing can take time. There may be other things you can do — like taking supplements, actively cooling your testicles or getting more exercise.

      A few places to get ideas — I wrote an article on the most common things that you can do to try to boost your count.
      You can also fill out this quiz with details about your life and you should get a personalized report with top things that could help you.

      There is also an app call Trak: Sperm health & fertility available on both iOS and Android that can help you take steps to improve your sperm count.

      Does this help? Happy to talk through details if you have more questions.

    • Ijaz June 2, 2017 at 7:13 pm - Reply

      Please someone guide me. Can I conceive with the result below..
      Volume: 3.5 ml
      Color: opaque gray
      Reaction: alkaline
      PH: 8.3
      Viscosity liquefaction time: 45
      Fructose test: positive
      Total sperm count: 79 million / ml
      Progressive motility: 50
      Non progressive motility: 20
      Non motile: 30
      Puss cells: 1-2
      Macrophages: 0-1
      RBCs: nil
      Yeast/bacteria: nil
      Abnormal forms: 5
      immature form: 4
      Agglutination: nil
      Clumping: present
      According to doctor you are mild weak. And prescribed me
      1: tocopherol
      2: Co Q10.
      Marriage date: 20 Nov 2016.
      Spent two months at home..

      • Sara SDx June 5, 2017 at 6:14 pm - Reply

        It looks ok to me. Sometimes it can take a few months to get pregnant. If you live in a different place for your work, it can increase the amount of time that it takes to get pregnant.

  18. […] Sperm Motility […]

  19. Khan July 29, 2016 at 7:50 am - Reply

    We are trying to conceive for last 8 months.no success so far.my age is 30. I used to mastrubate since 11 or 12 till marriage almost daily. Can this be the cause. Would it be possible that due to over mastrubation testis are no working slowly. I dont have any libido issue.

    Is it possible that if epididymis is ejaculating immature sperms due to frequent mastrubation.

    • Sara SDx August 22, 2016 at 3:28 pm - Reply

      Are you still masturbating on a regular basis?

      • khan September 17, 2016 at 8:59 am - Reply

        no now i quite but doing sex daily. my SA is Volume 3ml, viscosity thin,liquification 30min,sperm count 38 million per ml,total count 114 million per ejec, rapid progression 30 %,slow progression 20%, non progressive 10%,immotile 40%, marphology 55%,

        • Sara SDx October 6, 2016 at 2:38 pm - Reply

          How long did you abstain prior to this test?

          Overall, you seem pretty healthy. The numbers are a little lower than optimal but still plenty to conceive. It just might take a little longer than usual.

          I might recommend that you try to have sex every other day rather than daily. Give your sperm a chance to build up. This can help improve chances of pregnancy. Also, try to make sex as exciting as possible. The more exciting it is, the better your body will respond — and hers — and improve your chances of making a baby.

          • khan November 30, 2016 at 10:42 am

            Hi my wife go through some tests. follicle size was 15mm on cd 12 progestrone was 5.4ng/ml at cd21. dr told she is not ovulating put her on clomid. then cycle day 13 2 follicles in each ovary 25mm and 23 mm respectively. 21 day progestrone was 15.6 ng/ml which doctor said should be greater than 30. can you please tell me about this situation. problem is with me or my wife?

  20. moses July 15, 2016 at 10:36 pm - Reply

    Thank you very much for your immediate response

  21. moses July 15, 2016 at 10:18 pm - Reply

    Please, I would like to know if my semen analysis result is normal.
    volume: 1.5
    odor: spermine
    viscosity: normal
    Liquefaction: complete
    Agglutination None
    Round cells: <1million/ml semen
    neutrophils: <1million/ml semen
    Concentration: 66.8 x 10'6/ml
    total sperm count /ejaculate 100.2 x 10'6
    total percentage motility (progressive + non progressive) 73.8%
    progressive mobility(rapid 43% medium 9% slow 1%
    motile sperm ejaculated 73.9 x 10'6
    total progressive motile/ ejaculation 52.8 x 10'6
    velocity: 39.9 micrometers/seconds
    mean linearity: 52%
    motility index: 29.4
    Viability(eosin) 92.7
    normal sperm: 6.5%
    small head: 0.0%
    Large head: 0.0%
    Round Head: 0.0%
    Tapered head: 0.0%
    midpiece Defect: 0.0%
    Tail defect coiled 6.05
    Duplicate form1.5%
    cytoplasmic Droplet: 0.0%
    Amorphous head: 86%
    slightly abnormal:3.5%

    • Laura July 15, 2016 at 10:29 pm - Reply


      Your semen analysis seems to be above optimal. That is, you had a rather good result. Your total progressive motile sperm count is about 43 million, which is more than double what is normal.

  22. Phil May 28, 2016 at 9:38 am - Reply

    Hi, I’m 34 and I found that after a recent analysis I have immediate motility of just over 60%, but then a Motility score of Moderate (less than good). I have been trying to work out if this could be due to the scores I see ‘After 1 hour’, ‘After 3 hours’ and ‘After 24 hours’ but I can’t find studies which woukd explain what the average range for results in these times might be. Altough I’m looking to boost it anyway, can you point me in the direction so I can find this information?

    Thank you

    • Laura June 17, 2016 at 5:03 pm - Reply

      Hi Phil,

      It is unclear from literature what normal sperm motility is after a certain amount of time. It is likely that this hasn’t been studied in enough detail to give you confident statistics. However, what I can tell you is that motility over time is an indicator of your ability to get pregnant. If there is a precipitous drop in motility after just a short time, that means your sperm has slightly less of a chance to make it to the egg. This could indicate that the semen nutrient content is somewhat lacking.

      I can only speculate what your Moderate score could indicate, but I’m betting it could relate more to the total motile sperm count or your progressive motile sperm count, rather than the percent motility. You’d need to clarify the numbers on this semen report with your doctor or semen analysis technician. Semen analyses are by no means strictly standardized, and I can only make sloppy guesses as to what your report is saying.

      One piece of info you could get out of this is that this report can serve as a baseline. If you take action to get healthier and improve your semen parameters, you can return to this same clinic about 3-6 months later and see if those numbers and scores improve.

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