What Is the Normal Semen Volume in Males?

By BSc (embryologist), BSc, MSc (embryologist), BSc, MSc (embryologist) and (invitra staff).
Last Update: 10/10/2019

One of the first parameters studied in the seminogram is the volume of ejaculated semen. Although this value does not directly refer to the amount of sperm present in the ejaculation, it is important to check that the amount of ejaculated sperm is sufficient for some to reach the uterus and that, therefore, it is possible to achieve fertilization and pregnancy in a natural way.

How will sperm volume be analized?

The volume of ejaculated sperm is measured in milliliters with a laboratory pipette. The average amount of semen per ejaculate in men is between 2 and 4 ml, although it is a value that can vary depending on different aspects, such as sexual abstinence, stress, and so on.

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), an ejaculate volume from 1.5 ml is considered normal. Results above the reference value do not indicate changes affecting fertility. However, a volume of ejaculated semen less than this value gives rise to the pathology known as hypospermia.

Alterations in male fertility

As we will see below, there are some alterations related to the volume of ejaculation that can compromise the reproductive capacity of men.

Hypospermia

Hypospermia or a small amount of semen produces male infertility, since if less than 1.5 ml of ejaculate volume is expelled, it is difficult for sperm to travel all the way to the ampulla area, in the fallopian tubes, where the egg is found.

By using assisted reproduction techniques, such as ICSI, where few sperm are needed, men who have hypospermia have a good chance of being parents, since although the volume of ejaculate is less than 1.5 ml, a very low amount of sperm is required to perform this technique.

If you want more information about this pathology, you can find it in this article: Hypospermia: Causes, Symptoms and Treatment.

It should be noted that before diagnosing hypospermia, it is advisable to ensure that the sample has been obtained correctly and that the entire ejaculate has been collected. To this end, the patient will be asked specifically whether he or she has provided the entire sample or only partially.

In the event that only part of it has been delivered, the diagnosis could be wrong. Abstinence days referred by the patient should also be taken into account.

Aspermia

Another more serious volume-related complication is aspermia, where the man is not able to expel any fluid in the ejaculation. In this case, the cause of this alteration should be found and sperm production in the testicles checked.

It has two main causes:

  • Retrograde ejaculation: the ejaculate is not expelled to the outside, but flows into the bladder.
  • Obstruction or absence of any of the ejaculatory ducts.

Hyperspermia

Finally, more semen may be produced than the normal amount of ejaculate for a man. This is what is known as hyperspermia. In contrast to the low amount of semen, a high seminal volume is not associated with any pathology or alteration of fertility.

We consider a man to have hyperspermia when the amount of ejaculated seminal fluid is greater than 6 ml. As we have mentioned, it is not a cause of infertility but it is usually related to a large size of the seminal vesicles, since these formations are responsible for more than 70% of the volume of ejaculate.

It may also be due to excessive days of abstinence or inflammation of these organs.

How to increase ejaculation volume?

The expulsion of a small amount of ejaculate can result from different aspects, both hormonal and anatomical. Obstruction of the ejaculatory ducts or androgen deficiency are some of the main causes.

Depending on the reason for the hypospermia, we will act accordingly to find a solution to increase the ejaculate volume. Therefore, there is no definitive or one-size-fits-all treatment.

If you want to know more about how you can increase sperm quality, we recommend that you access the following article: How is sperm quality analyzed and what can we do to improve it?

There are medications that can help, but it is generally recommended to avoid toxic abuse, such as tobacco or alcohol, and to eat a healthy, balanced diet. Drinking plenty of water and natural juices is recommended, as well as consuming fresh fruits and vegetables, due to their high content of vitamin C and antioxidants.

Zinc is also a highly recommended mineral due to its antioxidant properties, so it must be included in the diet. Some of the foods rich in zinc that can help increase the amount of ejaculate are oysters, beans, beef, or nuts.

It should be noted that these healthy habits may help in some men, but will hardly have any effect in the most severe cases. It is advisable to go to a fertility clinic if you’re still not pregnant after one year of unprotected sex.

FAQs from users

How can sperm volume be increased?

By Carolina Cordero Rosales BSc (embryologist).

There are no concrete actions to increase sperm volume. The right thing would be to redirect the question towards: how can semen quality be improved?

Seminal characteristics are specific to each male. However, there are certain factors that can modify the quality of the semen, causing it to increase or decrease.

Factors that diminish seminal quality are: tobacco, alcohol, drugs, a bad diet, a very stressful life rhythm, continuous and direct exposure to radiation or chemical agents harmful to health.

In order to improve seminal quality the right thing is to lead a healthy way of life:

  • Balanced and healthy food (encourage the regular consumption of foods rich in antioxidants)
  • Maintain an adequate weight (excess weight is negative for seminal quality)
  • Maintain a low-moderate stress level

However, there are pathologies such as agenesis of vas deferens, infections in glands such as seminal vesicles or prostate, etc. that can reduce the volume of an ejaculate, and therefore it is very important to consult a specialist.

Is it a serious problem if the ejaculation volume decreases and normal values are not restored after prolonged abstinence?

By Rebeca Reus BSc, MSc (embryologist).

In cases where the descent is very drastic, it is best to go to a specialist to rule out any alteration in the ejaculatory ducts.

It will be necessary to evaluate if all the glands that participate in seminal production are well or if on the contrary simply the seminal characteristics have changed without implying alterations.

Is the ejaculation volume always the same?

By Rebeca Reus BSc, MSc (embryologist).

No. Although it is approximately equal in volume, it varies between different men and even in the same man. For example, factors such as days of abstinence may cause changes in seminal volume.

The fact that one day the ejaculate is of low volume should not be cause for concern.

Suggested for you

As we have seen, the seminal volume is analyzed by means of the seminogram. If you want to know more about this test, we recommend that you read the following article: What is a basic seminogram and how is it done step by step?

If you want to know how to interpret the results correctly, you will find more information here: How to interpret the results of the seminogram and their normal values.

Our editors have made great efforts to create this content for you. By sharing this post, you are helping us to keep ourselves motivated to work even harder.

References

Authors and contributors

 Carolina Cordero Rosales
Carolina Cordero Rosales
BSc
Embryologist
Bachelor's Degree in Biology from the University of Alcalá. Many years of experience working as an embryologist, and currently she continues expanding her professional career at Clínica Tambre (Madrid, Spain). More information about Carolina Cordero Rosales
License: 18942-M
 Neus Ferrando Gilabert
Neus Ferrando Gilabert
BSc, MSc
Embryologist
Bachelor's Degree in Biology from the University of Valencia (UV). Postgraduate Course in Biotechnology of Human Assisted Reproduction from the Miguel Hernández University of Elche (UMH). Experience managing Embryology and Andrology Labs at Centro Médico Manzanera (Logroño, Spain). More information about Neus Ferrando Gilabert
 Rebeca Reus
Rebeca Reus
BSc, MSc
Embryologist
Degree in Human Biology (Biochemistry) from the Pompeu Fabra University (UPF). Official Master's Degree in Clinical Analysis Laboratory from the UPF and Master’s Degree about the Theoretical Basis and Laboratory Procedures in Assisted Reproduction from the University of Valencia (UV). More information about Rebeca Reus
Adapted into english by:
 Romina Packan
Romina Packan
inviTRA Staff
Editor and translator for the English edition of inviTRA. More information about Romina Packan

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