What is a Sperm Test (Spermiogram)?

Spermiogram is a microscopic examination performed to evaluate the reproductive potential of a male patient for couples who want to have children. Semen analysis is the simplest and most important test that can be applied to a male patient. The result of the sperm test is the guide in deciding the best treatment.

How is a spermiogram done?

A period of sexual abstinence of 2 to 7 days is required before a sperm test. When abstinence is less than two days, the sperm count may be low, and when it is more than 7 days, the sperm count may increase, but motile sperm count may decrease. For this reason, the day of sexual abstinence is always questioned before the test. The doctor will be contacted if a different situation is encountered. We request you give the semen sample in our clinic in a room specifically prepared for this purpose. Sperm mobility will be low in samples brought from outside, therefore we prefer that the semen sample is taken in our clinic.

The semen sample taken from the patient is evaluated with the help of a special instrument called the Makler Chamber. With this instrument we can determine the total, motile and immotile sperm counts. The Makler chamber also helps us determine the number of sperm in a millimeter with the standard area it provides.

After counting, the sperm spread on the slide are stained and evaluated morphologically (shape). After the staining process, at least 200 sperm are evaluated and the average is taken. Thus, the rate of sperm with normal shape in the semen is determined. Normal sperm rate is very important as only normal shaped sperm can fertilize the egg.

How long does it take for a spermiogram result?

Spermiogram is a very important test that should be examined by experienced people in safe hands. This test can give results in 2-3 hours, and it gives us a lot of information about male reproductive health. You can get your result on the same day, and consult our doctor for an evaluation.

What should be taken into account when giving a sperm sample?

  • Please wash your hands before the procedure.
  • Please do not use any lubricants (spir, soap, etc...) during the procedure.
  • The sperm container given to you is sterile, please do not touch its interior.
  • Please collect all of the samples in the container. If you can not collect the entire semen sample in the container, please be sure to inform the staff. This can cause changes in the sperm count.

How are normal sperm values determined?

Initially, each clinic would use their own sperm values, so the normal values differed from country to country. Therefore it was not possible to evaluate sperm measurements from different clinics. For this reason, WHO (World Health Organization) published a guide to evaluate a semen sample, which they periodically update. The most recent update, which updated normal sperm values, was in 2021. These normal sperm values were determined by the average sperm values of samples from men whose spouses have become pregnant in the last 12 months. In our clinic, a spermiogram is performed according to this guideline.

What Are Normal Sperm Values?

The guide of the World Health Organization, which we use to evaluate the semen sample, was renewed and published in 2021. The guide, which was last published in 2010, updated normal sperm values after a long hiatus. It's good to be able to say from a Male Reproductive Health perspective that not much has changed; at least nothing has deteriorated. The normal sperm values published by WHO (World Health Organization) in 2021 are as follows.

How should Spermiogram results be evaluated?

The volume of the sperm sample should be at least 1.4 milliliters. Sperm concentration, which is the amount of sperm in a milliliter, should be 16 million, and the entire semen sample should contain 39 million sperm.

Another important criterion is the mobility of sperm, which we call motility. After the 2010 guidelines we used to classify the sperm in three groups: forward motile, backwards motile, and immotile. With the 2021 WHO guidelines the sperm are classified in four groups: forward fast motile, forward slow motile, stationary motile, and immotile. Total mobility rate increased to 40% in 2021 from 40%.

Another important criteria is the morphology, which is the shape of the sperm. This is important because only a normal sperm is able to fertilize the egg. Before 2010 evaluations for this criteria were complicated, because WHO had different classifications. In 2010, they adopted Kruger's values as standard normal values. In Kruger's evaluation, the criteria for evaluating the head, neck, and every other part of the sperm is very precise; none of the sperm outside the standard values are classified as normal. Previously 4% morphology was considered normal, which didn't change with the 2021 guidelnes. 4% morphology is still considered within normal parameters.

Semen parameters

WHO 2010

WHO 2021

Semen volum (ml)



Sperm concentration (mil/ml)



Total motility (%)



Progresif motility (%)



Vitality (%)



Morphology (normal form) (%)



Where should I have the spermiogram test done?

Semen analysis is an easy but very important test that should be done in safe hands and evaluated by experienced people, because it tells us a lot about the male patient's reproductive health. This test determines what kind of treatment is needed, and if any further tests are necessary. For this reason, you should thoroughly research the center you will have the test done in.



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