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Andrology provides diagnostic semen analysis for patients at University Hospitals Birmingham NHS Foundation Trust (UHB), as part of male fertility investigation. The UHB Andrology Laboratory has fully trained scientists who are highly proficient in performing quality diagnostic semen analysis in line with the World Health Organisation (WHO) 6th Edition for the examination of semen (diagnostic semen analysis). The Andrology department is a UKAS Accredited Service (ISO15189:2012), currently operating from a single site located on the 1st Floor of the Sheldon Unit, Good Hope Hospital.

Why have I been asked to produce a semen sample?

This is generally so your doctor can see if there may be problems with the quality of your sperm for fertility purposes and manage your investigations accordingly. Sperm (when produced) are mixed with other fluids which is collectively called semen.

Semen samples are analysed by trained staff to assess:

  • The number of sperm present (how many there are)
  • The motility of sperm (how well they move or ‘swim’)
  • The morphology of sperm (what they look like under the microscope)
  • Other parameters; viscosity, pH, volume etc.,

It is important to remember that a single semen analysis offers a snapshot of semen quality and you may be asked for a second sample by your doctor if they feel this is necessary.

What will I need to do to prepare for my test?

You will need to make sure that you can attend the appointment that you have been given or arranged.

Ensure you have read the leaflet that you should have received through the post with your appointment letter prior to attending your appointment.

Prior to the test you must ensure that you have not ejaculated for at least two days (48 hours) before the test, but for no longer than seven days (168 hours).

On the day of the appointment please arrive at the location giving five minutes before your appointment time and bring with you the questionnaire that you should have received in the post.

How long will I have to wait for an appointment?

Patients are booked an appointment within 7 weeks from referral, unless clinically indicated or by patient choice.

Where will I produce my sample?

To assure your privacy during your visit, the Andrology Department has a dedicated private room for you to produce your sample. The room is set back from the main corridor and housed within a secure and separate area.

What if I cannot produce my sample on site at the hospital?

On site sample production is preferred, but we understand that some patients may not want to produce a sample on site at the hospital. If you want to produce a sample off-site, you will need to discuss this by contacting the laboratory prior to your appointment. This must be agreed with laboratory staff and you must have a pot provided to you from the laboratory. If this has been agreed, then you must:

  • produce your sample into the pot provided to you by the laboratory
  • keep the sample warm by holding it close to your body
  • bring to the laboratory for your appointment time within 45 minutes of production and as close to your appointment time as possible (within 15 minutes either side of the time)

If I cannot attend my appointment or I am delayed, what shall I do?

If you cannot make your appointment, please contact our appointment centre.

Late arrivals may not be seen by the Andrology Department. Please be aware that we reserve the right to refuse seeing late arrivals as the tests are time-dependant and we must ensure that the integrity of other samples are not compromised.

Note: Patients who fail to attend their appointment and do not notify the Trust will need a repeat referral from their GP/Consultant and will be placed at the end of the waiting list.

How will I receive my results?

Your results will be sent to the clinician that is managing your patient care and will be available in seven to 10 days.

Last reviewed: 19 January 2024