How to Get a Sperm Sample

Written by brock cooper
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When a couple cannot get pregnant or there are abnormalities with ejaculation or other medical issues involving sperm or ejaculation, it is necessary to perform a sperm analysis, and that requires acquiring a sperm sample. The most common way to obtain a sperm sample is through masturbation, but it can also be taken through surgery if needed.

Skill level:

Things you need

  • sterile cup
  • special condom
  • cleansing wipes

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    Getting a Sperm Sample

  1. 1

    The key to studying sperm concentration, motility and structure is to have as much sperm as possible to study. It takes the body time to create sperm after ejaculation, so go a couple of days without ejaculation to build up sperm. According to, abstain for two days, but do not go longer than seven days because at that point sperm begin to die.

  2. 2

    The sample must be as free from contaminants as possible. Before creating the sample, shower and clean the testicles and penis with soap and water and wash your hands. Your doctor may also have you use an alcohol wipe on the tip of the penis to eliminate any contaminants.

  3. 3

    A sperm sample can be taken either from home or the fertility clinic, but samples obtained at home must be taken to the lab within the hour. The clinic will provide you with a sterile catch cup and advise you to not use any commercial lubricants or saliva during the process. If you are unable to climax without lubrication, the clinic can provide you with special lubricant that will not damage the sperm. Masturbate into the sterile cup, making sure not to touch the edge or inside of the cup. Once the sample is collected, it can be taken to the doctor for study.

  4. 4

    Some people cannot ejaculate through masturbation--only through actual intercourse. Because commercial latex condoms often have spermicide, and even those without spermicide can harm the sperm, the fertility clinic can provide you with a special polyurethane condom to be used during intercourse that you can ejaculate into without harming the sperm. Once you have ejaculated into the condom, take the sample sealed in a sterile container to the doctor's office within an hour of intercourse. To obtain a sperm sample, do not have intercourse without a condom because the liquids of the vagina can contaminate the sample.

  5. 5

    Examine alternatives. If you cannot ejaculate through masturbation or intercourse of if you have a blockage that prevents the ejaculate from leaving the penis, there are more invasive ways to collect the sperm. A variety of surgeries are available to retrieve the sperm directly from the testicular sac. Electrical stimulation and percutaneous epididymal sperm aspiration, which can be done without scrotal exploration and under general anesthetic, can also result in ejaculation.

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