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,

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