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Interpretive Handbook

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Test 9206 :
Semen Analysis with WHO Morphology

Clinical Information Discusses physiology, pathophysiology, and general clinical aspects, as they relate to a laboratory test

Semen is composed of spermatozoa suspended in seminal fluid (plasma). The function of the seminal fluid is to provide nutrition and volume for conveying the spermatozoa to the endocervical mucus.


Male infertility can be affected by a number of causes. Chief among these is a decrease in the number of viable sperm. Other causes include sperm with abnormal morphology and abnormalities of the seminal fluid.


The World Health Organization morphology procedure provides a rapid, subjective estimate of sperm shape and size and reports the presence of WBCs and germinal cells.


Multiple semen analyses are usually conducted over the course of the spermatogenic cycle (approximately 45 days).

Useful For Suggests clinical disorders or settings where the test may be helpful

Determining male fertility status

Interpretation Provides information to assist in interpretation of the test results

Teratospermia, a World Health Organization morphology score of <15% normal oval sperm heads, is associated with impaired fertility. This association is variable and does not rule out normal fertility.


Germinal cells/mL: > or =4 x 10(6) indicate a possible disorder in spermatogenesis.


WBC/mL: > or =1 x 10(6) indicate possible genital tract infection.


See Reference Values.

Cautions Discusses conditions that may cause diagnostic confusion, including improper specimen collection and handling, inappropriate test selection, and interfering substances

Patient should have 2 to 7 days of sexual abstinence at the time of semen collection for accurate results.


Results may be unreliable if specimen transportation requirements are not followed.


Semen specimens can vary widely in the same man from specimen to specimen. Semen parameters falling outside of the normal ranges do not preclude fertility for that individual.

Reference Values Describes reference intervals and additional information for interpretation of test results. May include intervals based on age and sex when appropriate. Intervals are Mayo-derived, unless otherwise designated. If an interpretive report is provided, the reference value field will state this.

Appearance: normal               

Volume: > or =1.5 mL                   

pH: > or =7.2                           

Motile/mL: > or =6.0 x 10(6)          

Sperm/mL: > or =15.0 x 10(6)        

Motility: > or =40%                       

Morphology: > or =15% normal oval sperm heads

Germ cells: <4 x 10(6)/mL

WBC: <1 x 10(6)/mL

Grade: > or =2.5     

Motile/ejaculate: > or =9.0 x 10(6)

Viscosity: > or =3.0

Agglutination: > or =3.0

Supravital: > or =58% live

Fructose: positive

Note: Fructose testing cannot be performed on semen analysis specimens shipped through Mayo Medical Laboratories. If patient is azoospermic, refer to FROS / Fructose, Semen or Seminal Plasma. Submit separate specimen to rule out ejaculatory duct blockage. Positive result indicates no blockage.