This page from the Centre Hospitalier Universitaire Vaudois in France
discusses in detail the optimal conditions for collecting a usable
sperm sample, and cautions against contamination of the sample with
saliva, lubricants and other substances:
"Sperm collection can be performed at home or in the lab. Hands and
penis should be washed with soap and thoroughly rinsed with water.
Sperm should be obtained by masturbation. Avoid all contacts
between penis and / or hands with the vagina, mouth or anus. Those
contacts could contaminate your sperm sample. Avoid also the use
of commercial lubricants; they contain substances that are toxic
for the spermatozoa. The complete ejaculate should be collected.
If part of the sperm is lost, do not forget to specify it to the
Specifically regarding the issue of motility, it notes that optimal
results are obtained with a specific amount of abstinence prior to
collection of the sample:
"A sexual abstinence of 2 to 5 days is recommended. If the
abstinence is too short, the sperm volume is reduced and if
it is too long, the spermatozoa loose [sic][lose] their motility."
More in this section:
It then goes on to discuss analysis of motility and other factors
which may contribute to lower motility:
"According to the WHO's [World Health Organization] recommendations,
spermatozoa are classified into four categories according to their
1: non progressive
2: slowly progressive or sluggish
3: rapidly progressive
A sperm is said to be asthenic* when the percentage of progressive
spermatozoa (class 2+3) is below 50%. The term used is
The factors which may affect motility are the abstinence length,
an excessive absorption of alcoholic beverages, exposition of
the testicles to heat sources (sauna, oven, prolonged sitting
position, etc...), the presence of a varicose, an infection
(Chlamydia, Mycoplasms and Urea plasma, ...), certain medicines
or drugs (marijuana)."
More in this section:
It goes on to discuss rare genetic influences which might affect
motility. The URL for the full page is here:
Your sample was delivered within the 1 hour period specified in
this article, so that should not have been a factor, though
temperature changes during transport might have had some effect.
In keeping with the guidelines provided, I would expect a different
outcome from your second test, if you do the following:
- Abstain for 3-4 days prior to collection.
- Avoid lubricants and other potential contaminants.
- Use a glass container for collection, if possible.
- Obtain the sample at the clinic to minimize the delay before
- Avoid the use of alcohol, marijuana, and other substances
which might have an impact on motility.
Other useful guidelines may be obtained from the article above,
as well as from further exploration of the search results below.
Searches done, via Google:
"sperm test" "~affect motility"
Clarification of Answer by
10 Apr 2006 19:44 PDT
This page on Simon and Schuster's 'Simon Says' site, which cites content
from the book, 'Six Steps to Increased Fertility - An Integrated Medical
and Mind/Body Program to Promote Conception' by Robert L. Barbieri, M.D.,
Alice D. Domar, Ph.D., Kevin R. Loughlin, M.D. and Harvard Medical School,
"If you use a lubricant, choose it carefully. Better still, avoid them.
Even though they're not designed to kill sperm, some nonspermicidal
gels are gooey enough to reduce the number of sperm that get into the
cervix. Even the presence of hand lotion or saliva in or near the
vagina can slow down or kill sperm."
The Environmental Health Network keeps extensive pages with links
to reports of everyday products which may impact health. One of
the family of chemicals commonly found in products which contain
fragrances is calle phthalates, which have been found to negatively
impact the DNA in sperm:
Their listings under sperm/male fertility contain similar entries:
Additional searches done, via Google:
"hand lotion" sperm viability