Comparison of semen parameters in samples collected by masturbation at a clinic and at home

Fertil Steril. 2008 Jun;89(6):1718-22. doi: 10.1016/j.fertnstert.2007.05.044. Epub 2007 Jul 20.


Objective: To investigate differences in semen quality between samples collected by masturbation at a clinic and at home.

Design: Cross-sectional study.

Setting: Fertility center.

Patient(s): Three hundred seventy-nine men assessed for infertility.

Intervention(s): None.

Main outcome measure(s): Semen was analyzed according to World Health Organization guidelines. Seminal markers of epididymal (neutral alpha-glucosidase), prostatic (prostate-specific antigen and zinc), and seminal vesicle (fructose) function were measured. Two patient groups were defined according to sample collection location: at a clinic (n = 273) or at home (n = 106).

Result(s): Compared with clinic-collected semen, home-collected samples had statistically significantly higher values for sperm concentration, total sperm count, rapid progressive motility, and total count of progressive motility. Semen volume, proportion of normal sperm morphology, neutral alpha-glucosidase, prostate-specific antigen, zinc, and fructose did not differ significantly between groups. An abnormal sperm concentration (<20 x 10(6)/mL) was seen in statistically significantly fewer of the samples obtained at home (19/106, 18%) than at the clinic (81/273, 30%), and the same applied to proportions of samples with abnormal (< 25%) rapid progressive motility (68/106 [64%] and 205/273 [75%], respectively).

Conclusion(s): The present results demonstrate superior semen quality in samples collected by masturbation at home compared with at a clinic. This should be taken into consideration in infertility investigations.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Ambulatory Care Facilities
  • Data Collection / methods*
  • Ejaculation / physiology
  • Epididymis / physiology
  • Epididymis / physiopathology
  • Housing
  • Humans
  • Infertility, Male / physiopathology
  • Male
  • Masturbation*
  • Middle Aged
  • Selection Bias
  • Semen / physiology*
  • Sexual Abstinence
  • Sperm Count*
  • Sperm Motility / physiology*