The semen sample collection. What do men like?

When we ask a man to bring a semen sample for analysis or other studies there is usually no problem. He obtains it at home and brings it to us. However, when it is time to provide the sample for  an In-Vitro Fertilisation, things change.

In general they are nervous, hypersensitive because of the responsibility it takes to do it right. They fear not being able to achieve an adequate arousal in unfamiliar surroundings, like a  hospital environment and often with the wife in the operating room for egg retrieval. If to this, we add a male factor as the reason of the infertility, their feeling of guilt increases even more.

We, doctors, ask them if they think they will have problems that day. Most of them say no, others prefer to bring it from home, the hotel or previously frozen because they fear that difficulties may arise. They appreciate a lot the possibility to speak with the doctors and to see it is a common problem, because of course, in front of their wife they cannot complain or expose any fears since the answer usually is, “Well, honey, that’s all you have to do…”.

The male which have “no prolem” often leave the sample room with a “mission accomplished” face, but fearing that the quantity was too little or that the semen sample quality was worse than other times.

The semen quantity, (volume of ejaculate), its the quality and the level of orgasm depend on the degree of sexual arousal reached previously. That means that it is better when the intensity and time of excitement has been longer. This is due to the increase of vascularization of the seminal vesicles and prostate, which are the glands producing seminal fluid and thus favor a complete ejaculation.

When the excitement is less, as it often happens that day, ejaculation is usually incomplete and the man notices that. In some cases a blockage occurs, they are not able to provide a sample and it becomes a traumatic experience. In these situations we ask if they can not get an erection or if they are excited but cannot ejaculate. In the first case we give them a tablet to induce an erection. But mostly they don’t manage to ejaculate because, due to a psychological effect, this reflex is blocked. In this case we give an anxiolytic.

We ask all of them to relax while sitting or walking for an hour and we tell them not to worry if they cannot make it because we can extract the spermatozoa with a simple technique. Although they already imagine that this simple technique consists of puncturing a testicle, they are not scared, it actually takes away their stress. However, having to go for a B plan is totally exceptional.

The wives of the blocked men are surprised from the role suddenly acquired by their partners as she is actually the one coming out of the operating room!

The truth is that in the IVF cycles men are the forgotten ones and we intend to help them. From my experience, I think semen collection rooms must be redesigned not to make them look like they are inside a clinic and, on the other hand, we have to explain them how they can emotionally support their wife throughout the cycle and especially during the time waiting for the pregnancy test.

Therefore, I have spent months asking many men how they would like the room to be. Well, I have not received much information because each of them has very different tastes.

The results of my own research are as follows: men have in common the desire for intimacy, to feel isolated in order to concentrate on the sexual stimulation. They also greatly appreciate hygiene and a prior knowledge of the place, as this gives them security.

As I said, there is great variation depending on each individual in terms of what excites them, as well as which position facilitates ejaculation. This also happens in the position used during sexual intercourse, as some will prevent ejaculation. Thus, according to my statistics, most of them would like to masturbate sitting on a comfortable sofa, others prefer to lie down and some to remain standing.

To provide all possible sexual stimuli I started to think about the offer we should have in our collection rooms so they could have the chance to choose.

On the internet and in the sex-shops, the great number of sex toys for women and the few for heterosexual men called my attention. Finally the selection is as follows:

The classic pornographic magazine.

  1. Video display with all kind of themes and sequences to choose from. In secret, I can tell you that I tried to remove all women dressed like nurses from the videos but my team did not let me, as they are the preferred ones!
  2. Virtual reality glasses with a device to view films for adults.
  3. A vagina made of silicone. They can use it during the excitation.
  4. A gift pack with a pair of VR glasses and a silicone vagina so that they can share their experience with you later.

On this video, you can see how our new semen collection rooms look.







  1. Mike O'Donnor Reply

    I have to say that the experience of using VR glasses for the donation made the whole process a lot easier, it was more like a game instead of a medical procedure. Very happy about that.

    I think that the hardest part is to put everything in the recipient, to meet the target you would need to put the recipient upside down but then not much quantity would remain inside for long, so you end up doing strange malabarisms. Also touching the edges is not too comfortable either and trying not to touch while maintaining the recipient on target is a distracting task. IMO redesigning the recipient as a silicone vagina or condom would make the whole process a lot more successful.

    Also when you are about to ejaculate it’s very funny trying to find the recipient with the VR glasses on.

    Thanks for the gift pack 🙂

    • Dr. Marisa López-Teijón Reply

      Dear Mike,
      I am glad that you felt it more like a game instead of a medical treatment. Thank you very much for your opinion.
      We really appreciate your feed back and we will take into consideration your recomendations to improve our system.
      Kind Regards,

  2. Andria Reply

    Interesting how you tried to take the nurse pictures out of magazines. Here a couple could be going through a serious and sad struggle with their marriage (namely not knowing if they can ever have children) without encouraging porn and he’s told to look at other women besides his wife. How do you think she feels. I think your perspective was off at that moment.

    But the religious factor. Though masturbation is a gray area as far as religious beliefs go, we both just simply try to steer clear of it. I laugh because I told him if he feels that being alone will be more effective, well, it’s for science right? But over all, we just try not to.

    The religious problem I find is the porn, soft or not. It is against our vows, religion and total mindset to look at another in lust besides each other. We have been married 9 years and we are super open with each other. We’re one of those annoying couples that prove all the “Just give it a year” naysayers wrong and snog in a corner at social gatherings. He is amazing and our faithfulness to each other (and the sex 😉 ) is the most beautiful thing we will not give up. We even speak up if we chance a peek. I’m not fooling myself. Sorry for the rant.

    So my question is, do they have the right to tell me he has to use a different means to ejaculate besides me. I’m pretty decent at a hand job especially if there were a specific kind of lubricant they needed me to get. And is at home always an option since it’s just for an SA for after a vasectomy? We live only a couple minutes from one of his clinic’s locations. I just want to be prepared if they tell us I “can’t” be there.

    • Dr. Marisa López-Teijón Reply

      Dear Andria,

      You tell me that you live a couple minutes from one of a clinic’s locations. I recommend you go to this clinic to be told what options you have, since there are several methods to obtain a sample, such as using a condom without spermicide or ejaculating in a specific sterile bottle.

      I hope I’ve helped.

      Best regards

  3. good explanation about semen collection.. thanks for sharing

  4. Sam Reply

    Thanks for an excellent article on the subject.

    I went though the same process while I had to give it for a semen test.
    I was under huge stress because I did not knew if I would get aroused and would be able to conduct the process.

    Unfortunately, the testing lab where I had to give the sample told me to got to the toilet and get the sample.
    and the toilet had a kind of odour and was kind of a confined space and not ventilated enough.

    I tried and failed, the environment was not at all comfortable.
    At times you just do not get into the right mood so quickly and stuck in a toilet to do so makes it even difficult. I tried to use pronographic content. But amazingly there were no good network connection.
    I was in a bad spot here.

    Eventually, I told the clinic guy that toilet is smelly and its not going to happen here. can I collect the sample at home and get it to you as my house if close by. He agreed if I can get it in 15 minutes.

    I went home, turned on the AC and tried to set the mood. I bet I was in the stress. And I was stuck in the what if’s.
    What if the quantity is not good and I am done with lower quantity. How can you enjoy something with a virtual gun at your head and clock ticking.
    But finally it happened and I was so happy. Just wanted to get every drop inside.

    All these collection centers should really make better comfortable rooms to facilitate. It’s true in IVF treatments its difficult for men too. And there is also a kind of guilt that you are jerking off to a pronographic girl to get you child with your wife.

    Anyways, this is my experience.

    • Dr. Marisa López-Teijón Reply

      Dear Sam,

      Thank you for sharing your experience with us.

      It is true that, in some clinics, the sample collection room is not well- equipped. At Institut Maquès we attach great importance to this matter since, as you say, IVF treatments are also difficult for men, and clinics should take this into consideration.

      All the best.

  5. Rick Reply

    I don’t get it. Why not send Husband/Wife home to do it naturally? Is natural fertility so difficult to achieve that we need these clinics now?

    • Dr. Marisa López-Teijón Reply

      Dear Rick.
      Infertility affects an estimated 15% of couples globally. Therefore, those who can’t have children naturally, must resort to fertility clinics if they want to build a family. Best regards.

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