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Why am I providing a sample?

If you have been requested to provide a semen sample, this can be for any of the following reasons:

  • Assessing the likeihood of achieving a pregnancy with your partner.
  • Diagnosing a sperm problem that means you may need medical help to achieve a pregnancy.
  • Determining which treatment is the most appropriate for you and your partner.
  • For freezing a semen sample, whether as a back-up for treatment, for preservation of fertility, or prior to vasectomy.

Burton provides a diagnostic semen analysis service to both NHS and private patients.  Semen analyses are performed in line with World Health Organisation guidelines and are conducted by trained clinical scientists or andrologists.  The following parameters are assessed during a semen analysis:

  • The volume and pH of the semen sample.
  • The concentration of sperm in the sample (how many sperm are present).
  • The motility of the sperm (how well the sperm are moving).
  • The morphology (the proportion of sperm with the correct size & shape).
  • The presence of anti-sperm antibodies (most common after vasectomy reversal and trauma to the tests).
  • The test may also provide investigations into the vitality (number of live sperm) and retrograde analysis where appropriate.

We do not refer the samples onto other laboratories for diagnostic testing, however you may be advised to visit your GP for referral if a sample has a high cell count.

Booking an appointment

All patients requiring a semen analysis should contact Burton reception. Appointments are

DayAnalysis    Semen Freeze only available at Nurture Nottingham  
Tuesday 08.00 - 13.30   
Wednesday N/A  
Thursday 08.00 - 13.30  
Friday 08.00 - 10.00  

A 30 minute appointment is booked for each semen analysis.  All patient information is protected by the confidentiality regulations set out by the HFE Act 1990 (as amended).

Where and how do I produce the sample?

It is preferable to produce the semen sample at the unit by masturbation. A discreet and quiet room is provided. You may wish to have your partner with you but remember this may not be possible during treatment. If this method is unsuitable or unsuccessful, please speak to a member of staff about alternative arrangements.

If you feel you may have difficulties producing a sample at Nurture, please discuss this with a member of staff. It may be possible to produce a sample at home. You will be provided with an appropriately labelled sterile pot and a sealable plastic specimen bag for transport. You must ensure that the sample can be transported at a temperature between 20oC - 37oC (we suggest close to your body / inside jacket pocket) and have the sample at the unit within 1 hour of production.

What preparation should I take?

You must abstain from sexual activity/masturbation for a minimum of 2 and a maximum of 7 days. This will mean you produce a sample of optimal quality.

Wash your hands and genitals prior to producing the semen sample.

You must tell the clinic about any illness or medication taken in the last three months - this might have some bearing on your semen quality and affect the advice given.

You must inform a member of staff if the whole sample was not collected. Spillage of the sample can affect the results and subsequent treatment plans.

Acceptance of samples

Attendance is by appointment only. Patient's turning up more than 15 minutes late may need to reschedule their appointment if there are no other free appointments available that day.

Patients bringing samples in from home are instructed to bring the sample in within one hour of production for optimal results. Samples arriving > 90 minutes may be negatively affected by the time delay and the appointment will be need to be rescheduled.

Please note that patients who do not comply to the recommended 2-7 days abstinence may need a repeat test if the sample has been negatively affected by incorrect abstinence period.

How do I get my results?

For patients of Nurture results are usually provided at your consultation, where the doctor will discuss with you the meaning of these and give appropriate advice. If you do not have a further appointment scheduled it can be arranged so that you receive your results via a telephone consultation.

Private patients will receive results via a telephone consultation and a copy of the report will be sent to the registered address.

The turnaround time for results to be available for release to patients is 3 working days.  Results that are to be posted will be posted with 3 working days of the analysis.

Reference Limits

ParameterLower Reference Limit
Volume 1.5mls
Concentration 15 Million/ml
Motility 32%
Total Motile Count 12 Million
Morphology 4%
pH 7.2
ASA IgG >50% (Positive result)
Vitality 58%
Round Cell Count 1 Million/ml

The doctor or embryologist will discuss the meaning of the results with you and give appropriate advice at the consultation. A single semen analysis may not be representative on its own and therefore a repeat analysis may be required.

The possibility of freezing a semen sample may also be advised in cases where very few sperm are present, the patient has difficulty producing a sample or the patient will not be available to produce a sample on the day of treatment. If you are attending to freeze a sample a HFEA storage form will need completing on the day and clearance of blood screening will be needed prior to the appointment.