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A semen sample is typically produced by masturbation (or sex_, and then ejaculating directly into a clean sample cup. You can also do this in a private room or in a bathroom at the doctor's office or clinic. If you live close by, you may be able to collect the semen sample at home and then transport it to the office or clinic for testing.

What is the best way to collect a semen sample?

  • The most common way to collect semen is by masturbation, directing the semen into a clean sample cup. Do not use a lubricant.
  • You can collect a semen sample during sex by withdrawing your penis from your partner just before ejaculating and then ejaculate into a clean sample cup. 
  • You can also collect a semen sample during sex by using a condom. If you use a regular condom, you will need to wash it thoroughly before using it to remove any powder or lubricant on it that might kill sperm.
  • It is possible to collect the ejaculate in a special silicone condom (which is non-toxic to the sperm) during sexual intercourse, and then send to the laboratory for testing.

If you collect the semen sample at home, the sample must be received at the laboratory or clinic within 1 hour.

How can I protect the semen sample? 

Keep the sample out of direct sunlight and do not allow it to get cold or hot. If it is a cold day, carry the semen sample container against your body to keep it as close to body temperature as possible. Do not refrigerate.

Since semen samples may vary from day to day, 2 or 3 different samples may be evaluated within a 3-month period for accurate testing.

Providing a semen sample via masturbation can be very stressful for some men (especially when they know their sperm counts are low; or if they have had problems with masturbation "on demand" for semen analysis in the past). However, men who have this problem can and should ask for help. Of course, their partner can help them to provide a sample, but they can also use sexually arousing videos or a mechanical vibrator to help them get an erection. Some men also find it helpful to use liquid paraffin to provide lubrication during masturbation, while others use Viagra for additional assistance.

Producing a semen sample does not cause any discomfort, but some may feel embarrassed about the method used to collect it. If masturbation is against your religious beliefs, discuss alternate methods of collection with your health professional.

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