Am I sterile or am I nuts?
March 19, 2010 9:23 AM   Subscribe

What determines semen color (and does mine mean I'm sterile?).

My semen is mostly clear. Always has been, for as long as I've seen it. When rubbed (don't ask) it streaks and is 90% clear with just a few white streaks like lotion that's not completely rubbed into the skin.

I have always kind of assumed this means I'm sterile. Given that I have never wanted kids (and still don't) I didn't bother seeing a doctor and paying for a sperm count test just to confirm a wild theory...but now that I've discovered the wealth of knowledge here I wondered if you could confirm my crazy theory...or just call me crazy.
posted by anonymous to Health & Fitness (13 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite

The white in semen is protein, not sperm cells. I don't know what a mostly-clear ejaculate means, but it doesn't necessarily mean you're sterile, and if you've been working from that assumption and don't want kids...I'd have that assumption tested medically.
posted by xingcat at 9:31 AM on March 19, 2010

It's something they look at but I don't think the coloring matters. It's count, motility, mobility, and morphology. The alkalinity/fructose is more for the actual fluid. I wouldn't say that you're sterile without looking at the big picture of the results.

Never assume. Plus if you wanted kids, that's what assisted reproductive treatments are for. They would take out the bad, isolate the good, and then intrauterine insemination or IVF.

So I wouldn't say you're crazy, just assuming way too much.
posted by stormpooper at 9:32 AM on March 19, 2010

I'm not sure if this is what you may be getting at, but - guessing that you're probably sterile does not count at birth control. I know a man who made this assumption to a predictably terrible outcome.
posted by BusyBusyBusy at 9:41 AM on March 19, 2010

When rubbed (don't ask) it streaks and is 90% clear with just a few white streaks like lotion that's not completely rubbed into the skin.

Well, yeah, it would be.

Is it clear when it's still in its unsmeared splooge form?
posted by Sys Rq at 9:48 AM on March 19, 2010

Do not make contraception decisions based on this theory.
posted by thejoshu at 9:51 AM on March 19, 2010 [4 favorites]

How often are you testing your hypothesis? Too much could leave you running on fumes, so to speak.
posted by biffa at 9:56 AM on March 19, 2010

Actually, biffa, the opposite is true.
posted by Sys Rq at 10:00 AM on March 19, 2010

SysReq, I don't mean instigate a derail but could you expound on that ("the opposite is true"), please?
posted by LOLAttorney2009 at 10:18 AM on March 19, 2010

It'd get gummier, less watery.

The things I know!
posted by Sys Rq at 10:22 AM on March 19, 2010

Wow, I really hope you are just fooling with us. However, since this is how rumors get started, I suppose:

Sperm generally comprises a single digit percentage of the volume of ejaculate. Making any assumptions about the qualities of sperm (prevalance, vitality or whatever) based on its superficial qualities is ill-advised.

No, seriously, your idea is completely invalid. Assume yourself fully potent and always act accordingly. It is an assumption, incidentally, that you could easily put to rest with a not particularly expensive lab test. I mean, it is not rocket science, someone looks at it through a microscope, it is routine stuff, less involved than say a strep throat swab. It would be a fine precursor to a consultation on a vasectomy, which would be a stellar idea if a zero sperm count is in fact an aspiration of yours.
posted by nanojath at 10:41 AM on March 19, 2010 [1 favorite]

Get the test if you're curious, but assume you are not sterile. The color/opacity of sperm varies a lot, and is (among other things) extremely diet-dependent.
posted by davejay at 10:44 AM on March 19, 2010

I generally think that testing for things that you can only see under a microscope should be left to those who have access to microscopes. It applies here.
posted by Hiker at 11:36 AM on March 19, 2010 [1 favorite]

Really? I have a microscope.... In seriousness, IF you are otherwise committed to using protection, and IF you really are just satisfying curiosity, then you should find a friend who has a microscope (just a simple "toy" one will do) and implement this thread about viewing your own. It's a great excuse.
posted by anaelith at 3:44 PM on March 19, 2010

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