S.Cooke, J.P.P.Tyier and G.L.Driscoll
Fig. 2. The incidence of reduced sperm concentrations in 229
hyperspermic men. M = million.
presented a statistical value in their study group of 1300 men
of proven fertility, quoting the 84th (!) percentile as 4.5 ml
(cf. 4.8 ml in this study) and 11.0 ml as the maximum.
While seminologists today are increasingly interested in
tests of sperm function and clinicians are embracing intracyto-
plasmic sperm injection, the basic parameters of a seminal
analysis should not be ignored. Thus this paper simply defines
hyperspermia in a large population as those men who produce
seminal volumes ^6.3 ml, but further demonstrates that in
almost 50% of these a sperm concentration exists which is
considered to reduce fertility potential because of dilution.
Procedures such as the split ejaculation technique, where sperm
concentration is artificially improved because of the reduction
in seminal volume delivered to the partner at coitus, may
circumvent this problem and 'high-tech' procedures may not
minimum value for hyperspermia. This value was 6.3 ml and
229 men had seminal volumes equal to or greater than this.
Of these, 113 (49.3%) had sperm concentrations below the
WHO accepted minimum 'normal' value of 20X106/ml
The production and delivery of excessive seminal plasma to
the female partner at coitus might reduce fertility potential
by limiting the availability of spermatozoa to the female's
reproductive tract, both by dilution and loss of semen. While
this review excluded, for the reasons outlined above, 36.8%
of men presenting for routine analysis, unlike other surveys
the data in this study were less likely to be artefactual because
of incomplete ejaculation, poor or non-defined abstinence, or
spillage of the sample at collection. Similarly, larger volumes
would also mean ejaculatory preparation and delivery was
complete, thus maximizing sperm content.
Therefore the 95th percentile value quoted may be an
underestimate, as most detrimental factors would decrease,
rather than increase, seminal volumes (e.g. accessory gland
infection). Furthermore, combining data with abstinence
periods of between 3 and 10 days is valid, since studies which
have reviewed the effects of abstinence on seminal parameters
have shown the accessory glands can replenish their secretions
within 2-3 days of an ejaculation and little extra is added to
seminal volume (-0.4 ml/day) with increasing time (Jouannet
Few publications have addressed the subject of seminal
volume in recent times. While Eliasson (1976), in a description
of seminal terminology, did not note high seminal volume as
a pathology, he did recognize an upper limit value for 'normal'
as being 6.0 ml (in our study 13.0 ml was the largest volume).
Few details of seminal volume were given by Murphy (1967)
in a study of 3544 men whose analyses were performed
between 1942 and 1965, except to note that 8.9% had volumes
>8.0 ml. Similarly, MacLeod (1950), in a study of 800
fertile men, gave an incidence of 4.8% with seminal volumes
>6.5 ml, further noting that 'highest semen volumes were
associated with infertile individuals'. Only Rehan et al. (1975)
Bostofte,E., Serup.J. and Rebbe,H. (1982) Relation between sperm
count and semen volume, and pregnancies obtained during a
twenty-year follow-up period. Int. J. Androl., 5, 267-275.
Eliasson,R. (1976) Semen analysis and laboratory workup. In
Cockett.A.T.K and Urry,R.L. (eds), Male Infertility; Workup,
Treatment and Research. Grune and Stratton, New York,
Jouannet,R, Czyglik,F., David.G., Mayaux.M.J., Spira.A.,
Moscato.M.L. and Schwartz.D. (1981) Study of a group of 484
fertile men. Part 1: Distribution of semen characteristics. Int. J.
Androl., 4, 440-449.
MacLeod.J. (1950) What constitutes a normal semen? Fertil. Sterii,
Menkveld,R., Franken.D. and Kruger.T. (1993) Commentary: WHO
criteria of normality for semen samples. Newslett. Int. Soc. Androl.,
Mortimer.D. (1994) Practical Laboratory Andrology. Oxford
University Press, Oxford.
Murphy,D.P. (1967) The volume of semen. A study of 3544 childless
men. Fertil. Sterii., 18, 124-126.
Rehan,N.E., Sobrero,A.J. and Fertig,J.W. (1975) The semen of fertile
men: statistical analysis of 1300 men. Fertil. Sterii, 26, 492-502.
World Health Organization (1993) WHO Laboratory Manual for
the Examination of Human Semen and Sperm—Cervical Mucus
Interaction, 3rd edn. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge.
Received on July II, 1994; accepted on October 18, 1994
at OUP site access on November 11, 2015http://humrep.oxfordjournals.org/Downloaded from