How to Read and Understand Your Semen Analysis

Although some people still mistakingly think of infertility as a “women’s problem”, the truth is that male reproductive issues cause one-third of infertility cases.

Therefore, a detailed analysis of both partners is extremely important. In the case of men, this is a semen analysis.

The semen analysis measures a number of specific parameters in order to determine the chances of the sperm reaching the egg.

However, because you measure several parameters, the results do not give you just one, clear cut number. You will be receiving several numbers and interpreting each of these is important for your overall understanding.

Let’s take a look at these parameters and what each of them means:

Semen Analysis Percentile

The World Health Organization (WHO) has an extensive report regarding men who were able to conceive within 12 months of trying.

We will list the “normal” ranges for each parameter, which are those that fall in between the 5th and 95th percentile.


1. Sperm Count

This number tells you the approximate number of sperm cells present in your semen sample, and you calculate this by multiplying the volume of the sperm by the concentration fo the sperm.

The higher the sperm count, the greater chance you have of successfully conceiving.

The WHO normal range is (5th – 95th percentile) 15 – 213 million cells per mL.

If your sperm count falls between 10-20 million, intrauterine inseminations may be recommended. If it is below 10 million, in vitro fertilization is recommended.

But if your sperm count is only a little low, there are also things you can do on your own to increase your sperm count.

2. Volume

While volume is not a direct indicator of fertility, large volumes may cause dilution of sperm whereas low volumes may be a sign of blockage or dysfunction in the seminal vesicles or prostate.

The WHO normal range for this is 1.5 – 6.8 mL.

3. Concentration

The concentration tells you how many million sperms per milliliter were produced.

The WHO normal amount is for this is approximately 15 million or higher.

Low numbers may indicate that something is blocking the sperm from coming out.

4. Motility

This number comes as a percentage and tells you the fraction of live sperm in your count, in other words, how many are swimming.

The WHO normal range for this is  40 – 78%.

Low numbers may be indicative of toxin exposure from smoking, alcohol, or chemicals from a job. It may also be an indicator of hormonal problems or of varicocele, which are varicose veins in the scrotum.

5. Morphology

Morphology is also given as a percentage and this number indicates the number of sperms that have a normal shape.

Only normal shaped sperm can fertilize an egg, so with a low percentage chance of pregnancy decrease.

The WHO Normal Range is 4 – 44%.

6. Other Factors

The doctor might measure other, less important parameters during your semen analysis.

These parameters may include vitality (how many sperms are alive), viscosity (how thick vs. watery the sample is), and pH levels (how acidic the sperm are).

Remember, both partners play a role in fertility. Analysis for males is just as important as it is for females. If you have any questions about your semen analysis results or about this process, please don’t hesitate to contact us for an appointment!
Also, read real reviews of women who visited Kofinas Fertility Insitute.