You will need to refrain from any sexual activity for at least three days, but not more than five to seven days before your sample is collected. This means no sexual intercourse or no ejaculation of any kind, including masturbation. Longer or shorter periods of abstinence may result in a lower sperm count or decreased sperm motility.
You will also need to give up some (potentially) unhealthy habits. It is best to limit smoking, drinking, and recreational drug use during the 10 days preceding your sperm analysis.
You may want to consider these lifestyle changes even further in advance of sperm collection. Specific things that are best to avoid as they could affect the quality of your sperm sample include:
- Medication, such as cimetidine (Tagamet), male and female hormones (testosterone, estrogen), sulfasalazine, nitrofurantoin, and some chemotherapy medication.
- Caffeine, alcohol, cocaine, marijuana, and tobacco. Some drugs such as anabolic steroids can affect sperm production.
- Herbal medicines.
- Excessive heat. For example, hot tubs or saunas.
Following these guidelines will help your clinic get an accurate idea of your body’s natural capability for producing healthy sperm.