Understanding the Results of Your Semen Analysis

Written by on June 8, 2010 in Fertility Tests, Sperm Count & Motility Tips with 46 Comments
Semen Analysis Results

Analyzing your sperm test results requires a doctor’s help! (image by Lucia Whittaker, Flickr)

Here are a few tips on reading and understanding your semen analysis, including a description of what a normal sperm looks like.

“A normal sperm has three sections: a head, a midpiece, and a tail,” writes Sharon Perkins and Jackie Meyers-Thompson in Infertility For Dummies (a great resource for couples who want to get pregnant!). “All three parts need to be normal for a sperm to be considered normal, according to the strict Kruger morphology, a system for evaluating sperm…”

Since male infertility accounts for about 33% of not getting pregnant for couples, it’s important to get a semen analysis done if you can’t get pregnant. A man’s sperm count, motility, or production is very important to pregnancy!

If you’re worried about male fertility, read A Guy’s Guide to the World of Infertility.

And, here’s a description of the three parts of a sperm, plus information on what sperm test results mean…

What is a Sperm Made of?

Though sperm are teeny tiny, laboratory technicians can see their details under a microscope (which is what will happen during a semen analysis or sperm test).

  • The head of a sperm contains all the genetic material, so a sperm with an abnormal head can’t fertilize an egg.
  • The midpiece of a sperm contains fructose, which is the energy it needs to move rapidly.
  • The tail of a sperm is necessary for propulsion. Sperm with no tail, two tails, or coiled tails are abnormal, and won’t help with getting pregnant.

“Most laboratories can do a ‘screening’ semen analysis,” writes Sharon Perkins and Jackie Meyers-Thompson in Infertility For Dummies. “However, the determination of morphology (proportion of ‘normal’ forms)…takes a high level of expertise, and is generally only available at a bona fide fertility program.”

What Does Your Semen Analysis Mean?

Okay, you’ve received the results of your sperm test…and you have no idea what sperm volume, concentration, motility, or morphology really means! Have no fear: the following parameters are from the World Health Organization (WHO) – a reliable source of medical information.

Normal sperm volume (amount) is 1.5 to 5 ml, or about a teaspoon.

Normal sperm concentration should be greater than 20 million sperm/ml, or a total of greater than 40 million per ejaculate.

Normal sperm motility means that more than 40% of the sperm should be moving (swim forward, mates!).

Normal sperm morphology means that more than about 30% of sperm should be normally shaped, as determined by the lab technician. If the lab uses the more strict Kruger criteria, normal sperm morphology should be 14%.

Normal sperm forward progression is at least 2, on a scale of 1 to 4 (this part of the sperm test measures how many sperm are moving forward).

Sperm white blood cells should be no more than 0 to 5 per high-power field. More could indicate infection.

Sperm hyperviscosity means that the semen should gel promptly, but should liquefy within 30 minutes after the sample is taken.

Sperm Ph should be alkaline, to protect sperm from the acidic environment of the woman’s va-jay-jay.

If you’re worried about the health of your sperm, read Low Sperm Count – How Do I Make Healthy Sperm?

And, if you’ve done a sperm test (or are preparing to do a sperm test), remember that semen samples can vary from month to month – or even day to day! It takes 72 days for sperm to develop. How does this affect the semen analysis or sperm test results? If you were ill, taking medication, or had anything unusual going on three months before the sperm test, then the results may not be indicative of normal sperm count, motility, or production.

For more male fertility tips, read What Causes Unexplained Infertility in Men? Damaged DNA in Sperm.

laurie blowing kiss

I'm glad you're here and welcome all your comments, but I can't give advice.
Peace and blessings,

I hope this helps you read the results of your sperm test…don’t give up on your dream of getting pregnant!

Are you trying to get pregnant? Get the Clearblue Digital Ovulation Test - it'll help you conceive quickly and naturally.

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46 Reader Comments

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  1. Nithya says:

    MY husband take semens test dead cells are 70-75%
    and active cell 25-30% so doctors told to give q gold tablet its correct treatment and its takes how long.
    and please suggest what kind of food,vegetables we can eat
    Thank you,

  2. Laurie says:


    What do your doctors say about your sperm test results? That’s the first and best place to get a semen analysis, so you can talk about your health and medical history as well.


  3. hani gamal says:

    dear sir ,
    i had married in 26/1/2013 and i made a semen analysis as follows
    quantity 2.5 cc
    viscosity normal
    reaction alkaline
    liquifaction 40
    count 18 million/ml
    active 35%
    sluggish 30%
    non- motile 35 %
    pus cells 10-12
    R.B.CS nil
    spermatogenic cells +
    abnormal 40 %
    agglutination nil

    plz help me in explain my test result
    thank you all and i hope you good health

  4. ranjit says:

    sir,my semen analysis report plz tell me I want to be father.

    total sparm concentration 121million/ml
    %progresessive motility 65%
    sluggish motility 20%
    normal morphology 63%
    tfsc 60.2million/ml msc78.6 million/ml
    smi-320,pus cell(0-1/hpe)present,rbc-nil

  5. Laurie says:

    Hello Nawaz, I wish I could tell you what your sperm test results really mean! Unfortunately, I’m not a doctor.

    Have you had your test results checked by a urologist or fertility doctor?

  6. Nawaz says:

    2.5 ml/20m, prgrsvl motile 20%, slugsly 35% , non motile 45%, morophology 65% what it means realy? Waiting ur reply…

  7. Laurie says:

    Ask a urologist or fertility doctor to help you understand the results of your semen analysis. He or she can offer more information than you can get online! An in-person exam is very, very important.

  8. romani says:

    3 yrs back during my sperm analysis doctor found abnormal head sperm and i took medicine for 3 months. After that i got my wife pregnant. Now if i want to have second child do i need to take the medicine again or that treatment is one time enough? please experts can reply..!!

  9. Jamie says:

    My bfs results I don’t understand can someone help he only had 4.3 ml and it was 17.49 million

  10. JOSE says:

    doctor say my sperm count is less,how to mainten the count
    please advice

  11. ggaurav says:

    my semen test details are
    counts-16milions/ ml
    non motile-80%
    pl. advise to me i can become a father

  12. Laurie says:

    Dear Samantha,

    My heart goes out to you, as my husband had a very similar sperm test. No sperm at all. It was devastating.

    I do not know if there are certain times of the day that sperm are more abundant and lively, and other times that they are not. I know that a man creates a new “batch” of sperm every 3 months or so, so it is worth getting another sperm test in 3 months or so.

    My husband got a genetic test done, which is free in Canada. It revealed that his azoospermia (no sperm) is the result of genetics, and he will never create sperm (apart from a miracle from God!).

    It takes a long time to absorb this, and learn how to live happily without creating a baby together.

    Are you ready to look at other options for starting a family together? If so, I can share what we considered, and what we are doing now.


  13. Samantha Nelson says:

    Hello! My husband and I just got his semen analysis test results back. They told us the test is abnormal. I am just wondering – is there a certain time of the day where the sperm is actually there, when at other times it is not?. We’ve been trying to have a baby for a year and a half now. He just went in and got tested in January. A baby has always been my biggest dream. That’s all I’ve ever wanted. I am very upset with the outcome of this test. I am sure that with the test being abnormal – and there isn’t any sperm motility that means my husband is sterile? He will be re-testing on the 8th of March.

    This is what his test reads:

    Semen Appearance: gray-opalescene
    Semen Volume: 2.0 >>> 2.0 ML
    Sperm P.H.: 8.5 H 7.2-8.0
    Sperm Viscosity: NORMAL
    Sperm Motility: None Seen.
    Sperm Count: None seen. Sperm count normals: 20 million.

    Can you please help me?

  14. bhnm says:

    I am 41 old, and i am getting more worry with my wife and i did semen test 2times and the results was as follow:-

    quantity: 7 ml
    viscosity: normal
    reaction: alkaline
    liquifaction: within 30 mins
    sperm count: 80000000/ml
    motility(%): 1st 2nd
    active(%) 7, 0 sluggish(%)50 (%)57
    pus cells 15-20 H.P.F
    R.B.Cs Nil H.P.F
    Abnormal Forms 30%
    others Becteria:++

  15. Sazzad says:

    Hello Doctor,
    I am Md. Sazzad Hossain, 29 years old. I go married in January 6, 2012. My semen test result is as follows:
    Total spermatozoa count=50 million/ml
    Sperm motility:
    Actively Motile=35%
    Feebly motile=10%
    Non Motile (Dead)=55%

    Sperm morphology:
    Pus cells=5-8 /HPF

    In this situation what shall i do to be a father?

  16. santosh says:

    This is the test result of my semen i really need to know if there are any problems.So I need your help.

    Volume: 1.0 ml
    Color: Greyish White
    Odour: Aeromatic
    Liquification: 30 mint
    ph: Alkaline 7.5
    Sperm Count: 06 Million/ml
    Actively Motile: 20%
    Sluggishly Motile: 30%
    non Motile: 50%
    After 1 Hour: 20% 30% 50%
    After 2 Hour: 20% 30% 50%
    Abnormal form: 02% large head,02% large head & tail,Occasional-Amorphous

    PUS cells: 0-1 /h.p.f
    Epithelial cells: +
    Bacteria: +

    sir,kindly suggest me i can pregnant to my wife or not
    Please, get back to me as soon as possible.
    Thanks in advance

  17. Anne says:

    Please help me to read the following semen analysis:
    Volume .9 ml
    Appearance OPALESCENT
    Viscosity/liquifaction Normal
    Total sperms collection 03 millions/ml
    Active motility 08%
    Normal morphologies 11%
    Sperms motility index (smi) 15
    Motile sperm concentration (msc) .4 millions/ml
    Functional sperms concentration (fsc) .2 millions/ml
    Plus cells 10-15 HPF
    Red cells nil HPF

    Are there any abnormalities shown?
    Thank you in advance.
    With best regards


  18. sachin says:

    My semen report is following
    sperm count-8000 nos
    motility -nil
    Please help me to get good treatment

  19. vipin says:

    hi this is my husband’s semen analysis report. plz help me analyze:

    sperm count : 45 million/ml

    actively motile: 30%
    slugglish : 20%
    Dead : 50%

    others: pus cells :2-4/hpf

    plz help me analyze. can i get pregnant?

  20. nihal says:

    hi this is my husband’s semen analysis report. plz help me analyze:

    viscosity: normal, reaction : alkaline, color : whitish.

    sperm count : 35 million/ml

    actively mobile: 15%
    slugglishly motile : 25%
    non-motile: 60%
    abnormal forms : 45%

    others: pus cells :0-1/hpf, rbc : nil, spermatogenic cells :4-6/hpf, sperm agglutination: absent.

    plz help me analyze. can i get pregnant?

  21. Ankit says:

    Sperm count-35ml
    Non motile-70%
    Abnormal Morphology-15%
    pus cell-3-4/HPF


    Godbless u

  22. Gabriela says:

    hello Richard,

    Please help read what does Morphology 7% means and what to do to improve it.

    Thank you so much,

  23. k k daw says:

    total sperm 32mili/ml active 15% non motile 75% normal 75% abnormal 25% 6 to10 pus cells pls suges me

  24. Sunita says:

    This is the test result of my husband and i really need to know if there are any problems.So I need your help.

    Days of absence : 2
    Volume = 1.0ml
    Motility = 51.5millions
    Rapidly progressive = 51%
    Immotile = 49%
    Concentration = 101millions/ml
    Morphology = 2%

    Can I become Pregnant having 2% morphology sperm count of my husband
    or suggest me to increase the morphology count

  25. stella says:

    we have been ttc for 7yrs .my husband june results are as follow morphology 40,motility 45,sperm count 18 million,wbc 3,ph akaline and my hsg result is that one of my womb is blocked.looking forward for your reply.thanks

  26. Jason says:

    What are my chances of getting my GF pregnant?

    Volume = 1.0
    Motility = 40%
    Rapidly progressive = 30%
    Sluggish = 10%
    Immotile = 60%
    Concentration = 28.8m
    Morphology = 90%

  27. sarah says:

    This is my husband recent analysis is it ok? Consistency _ Nomal. Lignifactin_Complete. Volum 2.0mls. Viscosity Nomal. Motility 80% slugish 18% death2% count 14ml

  28. Laurie says:

    A urologist, gynecologist, or fertility doctor has to tell you what the chances of conception are, based on your sperm test results. Getting pregnant may be more complicated because of your sperm – but the doctor needs to be the one to help you decipher what your test results mean.

    Getting pregnant depends on what other factors are involved (eg, your age, your wife’s age, overall health, other sperm or ovary issues, lifestyle, etc).

  29. Kunle says:

    This is my result
    Active cells : 40 percent
    Dead Cells : 60 percent
    Morpholology : 70 percent
    Progression : 80 percent
    Ph : Alkaline
    Count : 18million
    Total : 54 million
    …..Do I have a chance with this test?

  30. Syed s Ahmed says:


    I have noted below my Semen analysis report and like to know is it ok for father a child and how good is it? cooperation in this regard is highly appreciated.thank you.

    Syed S Ahmed.

    Volume: 2.0 ml
    Appearance : Dirty White
    Liquefaction : Completely liquefied after incubation at 37 degree celcius for 30 minutes.
    PH : Alkaline
    Sperm Count : 50 million/ml
    Sperm motility : Activeli motile 15%, Feebly Motile 25% and non Motile 60% .Motility within one hour of ejaculation.
    Sperm Morphology : 28% sperms abnormal :(abnormality of head/tail/body)
    Sperm Clumping : Absent
    Leukocytes : 3-4 / HPF
    Epithelial Cells : 2-3 HPF
    Germ Cells :present
    fructose : present.
    Opinion: normozoosspermia with decreased motility.

    Syed S Ahmed, 48 years and 3 Months.

    Syed s ahmed, 48 years 3 months.

  31. Ameer says:

    Hi there,

    I am 32 old, and i am getting more worry with my wife and i did semen test three times and the results was as follow:-

    quantity: 3.5 ml
    viscosity: normal
    reaction: alkaline
    liquifaction: within 30 mins
    sperm count: 30000000/ml
    motility(%): 1st 2nd 3rd
    active(%) 55 45 40
    sluggish(%) 25 30 35
    non-motile(%) 20 25 25
    pus cells 15-20 H.P.F
    R.B.Cs Nil H.P.F
    Abnormal Forms 30%
    others Becteria:++

    I hope that you can give us the result of this test, is ok or not

    Best regards

  32. margrita says:

    This is the test result of my husband and i really need to know if there are any problems.So I need your help.

    Volume: 6 ml
    Color: White
    concentration: normal
    ph: 8
    number: 70 000 000/ml

    1/2 hr: 78%
    3 hrs: 68%
    6 hrs: 63%
    morphology of spermatozoides: 40% of form abnormal
    leucocytes: absent
    hematies: Absent

    Thank you for the info provided in this website. I really liked it.
    Please, get back to me as soon as possible.
    Thanks in advance

  33. R.PANDIARAJAN says:

    Dear sir,

    Pl check My Semananalysis and report send my mail id pandiarajanr1979@gmail.com

    Macro examination:

    1. Colour : Opaque – Grey
    2. Reaction : Alkaline
    3. Volume : 1.0
    4. Viscosity : Normal
    5. Motility : 50 %
    6. Total Sperms count : 20 Million/ Cumm
    7. Active Sperms : 30 %
    8. Sluggish Sperms : 20 %
    9. Dead Sperms : 50 %
    10 Pus Cells : 2-4 / HPF
    11.Red Blood Cells : 0-1 / HPF
    12 Epithelial Cells : 1-3 / HPF


    1. HIV I & II : Negative (-ve)
    2. V.D.R.L : Non Reactive

  34. aquarious says:

    Dear Would you plese tell me that either this is normal report

    Time of liquefaction 30min
    viscosity thick
    quantity 3ml
    color greyish
    trasparancy opeque
    total count 60mil/ml
    motile 60%
    deadh 35%
    slugish 30%
    pus cell 10-12
    abnormal 60%

  35. Richard says:

    Me and my wife have been trying to have a child for the last 10 years; we have done IVF 6 times and nothing seems to work. Recently I underwent another semen analysis and the results are really worrying me; please helm understand them;

    Colour: whitish grey
    Ph: 8.3
    Volume: 2.0ml
    Viscousity: 30mm
    Liquefaction: poor

    Count: 3.0 million/ml
    Total: 6 million

    Motility: 0%

    Percentage normal forms: 6%
    Small/absent acrosomes: 23%
    Tapered/elongated forms: 2%

    Leucocytes: present(+)
    squamous epithelial: present (+)
    erythrocytes: not observed

  36. guru says:

    semen report
    color ; grey
    reaction ; alkaline volume ;0.5 ml viscosity ; viscous

    total sperm count ; 32 milli/cmm
    motile ;35
    sluggish ; 45%
    immotle ; 20 %

    other cells puscells ; 1- 2/hpf epicells; nil rcb’s ; nil

  37. javed says:

    plz cheek my sperm report

    VOLUME 2.5
    O dour MUSTY
    Liquefaction 15 Mint
    Sperm 110 millions/ml
    Normal Motility 40%
    sullegish MOTILITY 15%
    Morphology 70%
    Pus cells 1-2

  38. Fertility says:

    Take tablets like menivet to boost sperm quality.

  39. Sally says:

    Hello! This is my boyfriends sperm test results…please help me analyze ;)

    Motility – 64
    Rapidly Progressive – 44
    Sluggish – 20
    Immotile – 36
    I gather he is at 64% motility…36% immotile right?
    Concentration – 108.5
    Total Motile – 208.3
    Normal Morphology – 9%
    WHO Criteria
    Mid-piece defect – 87%
    Tail-piece defect – 4%
    So…his morpholgy is at 9%?? So does that mean 9% have a chance of penetrating the egg? This is confusing ;( Help!

  40. Love this site. I had to use IVF to try to conceive but had a miscarriage after a couple of weeks. Every Mom has a Journey towards becoming a Mom at Last. If that journey took you through Surrogacy, Adoption, or In-Vitro Fertilization, Mom at Last is the place to find information, success stories, & inspirational quotes. Visit our Mom Community today at http://www.MomatLast.com Every Mom has a Journey…so let’s connect & celebrate it!

  41. Hello Mary,

    Only a urologist, gynecologist, or fertility doctor can tell you what the chances of conception are, based on those sperm test results. Getting pregnant is more than having a good semen analysis and a successful tubal ligation reversal…it really depends on what other factors are involved (eg, age of both you and your husband, lifestyle, overall health, other sperm or ovary issues, etc).

    I wish you all the best in getting pregnant!


  42. mary w says:

    My husbands volume was 1.0 and sperm morphology 26. I’m looking into getting a tubaligation reversal. Is he capable of conceiving with these results?????

  43. Hi Yaseen,

    What did your doctor say about your sperm test results? Reviving sluggish sperm may depend on the cause. Did you get your semen analysis from a urologist or a fertility doctor? If not, you should talk to one as soon as possible.


  44. Yaseen says:

    Hi dear Richard!

    My sperm motility is 5 % only. 60% sluggish motile sperms are found. How can i make it better?


  45. Hi Richard,

    Did you get the number results of your sperm test? I’m not sure how to help you read your semen analysis, without knowing what results you have. Could you post more information?

    A better idea is to take your sperm test results to a doctor, and get him or her to interpret them for you.

    Good luck – I hope your sperm test results are good!


  46. Richard Thompson says:

    I just got my test done and now how do I read it???

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