December 14, 2021 ASB

Sperm Collection Bloopers and Mishaps:

Almost every male patient that comes into the clinic to collect a semen specimen is uncomfortable. They are standing sheepishly holding a specimen cup horrified to ask questions and positive that every person in the clinic knows what he is about to do in the collection room. Truth is, we do know- and we don’t care. Most clinics see a dozen men or more a day and there is nothing to be ashamed or embarrassed about. 

Here are some funny, cute and interesting true stories that might give you a laugh. 

Most clinics offer the option for men to collect the specimen offsite (home, hotel, etc) and bring it in themselves. For many this is more comfortable then collecting in the clinic restroom or collection room. For purposes of diagnostics and survival of the sperm cells, we ask you to have it to a clinician within 30-60 minutes of collection time. 

One male patient walks back to give me his sample and it is in the paper bag the clinic supplied with the collection kit. With my gloved hands I took the bag from the gentleman and I noticed that the bag was saturated and wet. Carefully I opened the bag and saw that the semen sample had leaked and there was nearly nothing left in the cup. I looked up at the man who seemed confused as to my surprise. When I asked if he was sure he closed the cup tightly he replied, “Hell no I didn’t tighten the cup, I didn’t want the sperm to suffocate!” After a brief lesson on sperm biology, the man left with a new collection kit and appointment for later that week. 

A patient was scheduled for a fresh retrieval at 8:00 one Tuesday morning. We knew that her husband had a job that didn’t allow him to be available to be at the clinic that morning and the patients asked if he could collect them at home that morning and if she could bring the specimen with her when she checked in for her egg retrieval. I explained the importance of getting the specimen to the clinic within the hour time window and that she should keep the specimen room to body temperature. She voiced understanding. When the patient arrived, she handed me the cup and I went to the lab to process the sample, finding all the sperm were dead. When I questioned the patient as to the details, she looked very confused. She explained that her husband had to leave for work at 4:00am so he collected before he left. A healthy sperm cell can survive at room temperature overnight, so I was still confused as to why they were all dead even after 4 hours. When I asked her about the delayed time, I reminded her of my orders to have the specimen at room temperature for no longer than an hour post collection, she replied proudly that she did just that. Confused, I asked her to explain. “After he collected, I placed the cup in the freezer until 7:00, one hour exactly before my retrieval. The semen thawed quickly and was at room temperature for less than an hour”.  I explained I would need to call her partner at work and she reluctantly agreed. When We spoke I simply told him there was a problem with his sample and he would need to come to the clinic to give me another sample. I heard a huge sigh on the other end as he asked, “She put it in the freezer, didn’t she?” Although both were a little embarrassed, that cycle resulted in a healthy baby. 

In the dead of winter, a patient collected off site and when he gave me the collection cup it was melted. He had left it by the heater so the sperm wouldn’t get cold. They were all dead but he asked me to check one more time for survivors. He was just in for a semen analysis so we simply told him to come back in two days with a new sample. 

A couple came on the day of egg retrieval, and the male partner went into the collection room to collect the specimen that would be used for fertilization. When I took the cup out of the bag for processing there were notes written in different color sharpie all over the cup, “Handle with care, future babies inside”, “Super Sperm”, “We love you, and so do our sperm”, “find the fastest, or the cutest, or just one that is alive”. “These sperm are wanted dead or alive, but only use the live ones please”.

At one of the clinics I worked, the whole staff would gather in the hall outside the OB Ultrasound room and we would all clap and give our congratulations to the patient as she walked out after seeing her baby and the heartbeat. Although the collection room was a distance away, the applause could get pretty loud. That morning a gentleman came into the clinic to collect his specimen and was taking an unusually long time. Apparently, the applause for the ultrasound started at the very moment he finished collecting. He burst out of the collection room with his hands in the air like Rocky, and asked me how we knew, were there cameras in there? He thought the applause was for him. 

We had a guy fall asleep in the collection room. We tried everything to wake him; knocking, calling his name, we called his cell phone (and could hear it ringing in there). He finally woke up 6-hours later (30 minutes after the clinic had closed) and pretended like nothing happened. 

I was in one morning and the first male patient of the day came to the door when I called his name. He was a pleasant gentleman and handed me his ID when I asked for it. He followed me to the collection room where I handed him the collection cup. He looked at me in complete confusion and asked, “am I supposed to collect it myself?”… I said yes. He asked, “how exactly am I supposed to do that?” Confused, I asked him if he knew that he was collecting a semen sample today and he laughed out loud. His wife made the appointment and told him to come in for blood tests because she knew he wouldn’t come if she told him it was to collect semen. 

One male patient came into the clinic with his semen sample that he collected off site for a semen analysis. Everything went smoothly until the technician performed the analysis. She said there were “odd things” in the sample. When questioned, she explained she saw something that looked like sawdust, a bug, and debris that was black like grease. When questioned, the gentleman explained that he had lost the collection cup that he was given at his previous appointment but he had an old one in the garage that he was using to keep loose screws in, he admitted that he must not have “wiped it out” good enough. 

Another male patient came with his specimen collected in a prescription medicine bottle, the little skinny kind. We told him that although everyone is greatly impressed with his aim, he would need to take an approved collection cup and reschedule the analysis.

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