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The page below is a sample from the LabCE course Semen Analysis. Access the complete course and earn ASCLS P.A.C.E.-approved continuing education credits by subscribing online.

Learn more about Semen Analysis (online CE course)

The most accurate method for determining volume is to weigh the container with the semen contents and subtract the weight of the empty container. However, this is often not possible in general clinical laboratories where scales may not be present or the pre-weight of the container may not be known, if it was issued by the physician's office.
As an alternative method, the sample could be collected into a wide-mouth modified measuring cylinder with 0.1 mL graduations.
Aspirating the sample into a pipet or syringe or pouring the specimen into a graduated cylinder for measuring are not recommended methods as some of the volume could be lost. However, in the basic clinical laboratory, this may be the only alternative.
Low semen volume could be an indication of a medical condition or could be the result of collection problems that resulted in loss of a portion of the ejaculate.
The lower reference limit for semen volume according to WHO 5th edition is 1.5 mL.