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The Cytology department offers infertility and post vasectomy testing.


Infertility specimen analysis is performed at both the MFT Wythenshawe site and Tameside site on an appointment based system. Appointments are available at Wythenshawe on Wednesday and Friday and at Tameside on a Tuesday morning. Please contact the secretarial team at Wythenshawe for information. Once a patient has made an appointment a kit will be posted, via Royal Mail, which contains a specimen pot and instructions.

Instructions for both Tameside and South Manchester patients are provided by the laboratory to GPs and clinicians who wish to request these tests.

The bottom of this information leaflet needs to be completed by the patient when the sample has been produced to inform the laboratory of information that may affect the quality of the result.

Infertility samples without a correctly completed request form from the requesting clinician / GP and no or incomplete information sheet will be rejected. Infertility samples, which are not received in the specimen pot provided, will also be rejected. The patient will then be expected to make another appointment and produce another sample.

Reports are issued, in line with the fifth edition of the “WHO laboratory manual for the examination and processing of human semen”.

In case of difficulty interpreting the new ranges below, please contact a consultant specialising in andrology.

Post vasectomy

Vasectomy Analysis services are performed at Tameside on a Thursday morning. At Wythenshawe they are undertaken every working day, during 8.30am until 3.30 pm. No appointment for this service is required. Patients are required to be given the relevant information leaflet, which is provided by the laboratory to GPs and clinicians who wish to request these tests.

Infertility reports

Test TAT Sample type Biological Interval / Clinical Decision Values Special precautions / information
Infertility testing 3 weeks Semen Volume: Although we may measure the weight of the sample but we report by volume, the lower reference limit being 1.5 ml. Infertility specimens to
be received in the
department 45 minutes
from production
Sperm concentration The lower reference limit has been reduced to 15.106 per ml
Total sperm number The WHO editorial committee considered that total sperm number per ejaculate provides a more accurate assessment of testicular function than does sperm concentration. There is now a lower reference limit for the total sperm number of 39.106 per ejaculate: we will calculate this.
pH: Lower reference range is 7.2. No upper limit is defined.
Motility: There are three categories: progressive motility (PR, spermatozoa moving actively), non-progressive motility (NP, all other patterns of motility with an absence of progression) and immotile (IM, no movement). The lower reference limits are Total motility (PR + NP); 40%, Progressive motility (PR); 32%.
Vitality 58% of spermatozoa are alive. Vitality will be assessed if the total motility is less than 50%
Sperm morphology The lower reference limit, which is 4% normal forms.


(Last reviewed June 2021)