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at York Hospitals


Abstinence from sexual intercourse and masturbation

  • How many days has it been since you last ejaculated - either through sexual intercourse or masturbation? This should be at least a full 48 hours and no longer than 7 days.
  • This is very important to ensure the test results are accurate.
  • If the abstinence period is outside of 2-7 days or this information is not provided, the sample will be rejected.

Coitus interruptus

  • Sexual intercourse in which the penis is withdrawn before ejaculation.


  • A condom is a sheath-shaped barrier device used during sexual intercourse.

  • Condoms should not be used to collect your sample as they are likely to kill the sperm. This means the sperm cannot be appropriately assessed and the whole sample will also not be retrievable.


  • Has the entire semen sample gone into the pot. If any of the sample missed the pot, the sample is incomplete.
  • The whole sample is required to ensure accurate results.
  • Incomplete samples cannot be processed and if this information is unavailable the sample will be rejected.


  • Semen is the whitish fluid containing sperm (plus other substances) that is released during male ejaculation.


  • Any material (e.g. gel, jelly or lotion) designed to reduce friction to aid sexual intercourse or masturbation.
  • These will likely kill the sperm, resulting in an inaccurate assessment. 

Fertility semen analysis

  • This test will have been requested if you have been trying for a family.
  • The test will assess how many sperm there are (sperm count), how well they move (motility) and what shape they are (morphology).

Post-vasectomy semen analysis

  • This test will be requested if you have had a vasectomy (a male sterilisation surgical procedure to cut or seal the tubes that carry a man's sperm to permanently prevent pregnancy).
  • The test will look for any remaining sperm in your sample and whether these are moving.

Your questions answered...

Q: Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) - Patients

Why does everything say "Fully booked" or "Not yet available"?

We release appointments on a 2-week rolling basis. This means that at midnight, the date 2 weeks in the future will open up. This is to ensure all patients are given a fair chance at booking a time slot. If all dates within the next 2-week time period state fully booked, this means we cannot fit any more patients in. We are sorry for the inconvenience, however we have had a large backlog of patients which accumulated over the lockdown period and minimal staffing. Dates that are blank are either within the next two days or are on a weekend. Both are unavailable to book.

Can I rearrange/cancel my booking

Yes, the page to do so is found here (Cancel Booking). Cancellations can be done online up 3 days before your appointment. After this time you will need to contact the laboratory on 01904 726258 where a member of staff can help you.

What if I turn up early or late for my booking?

Your sample will be rejected if it exceeds its hour as other specimens may be being dealt with/ are expected. Please call the lab on 01904 726258 if you think you may be early or late and we will try our best to accommodate you where possible.

What if I don't make a booking?

Any specimens without bookings will be rejected. If you are having difficulties booking a slot, please call the lab on 01904 726258 who will be happy to accommodate where possible.

What if I fail to turn up?

We urge you not to do this, though we understand it may be inevitable sometimes. If you cannot attend at short notice for any reason, please call the lab on 01904 726258. We are a busy laboratory with minimal staff and Andrology is not our sole investigation.

All other definitions/terminology seen on your information sheet/request form can be found here. (Definitions/Terminology)

Q: Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) - Clinicans/GP

How do I check I am giving my patient the correct pot and information sheet?

Toxicity tested pots have an additional white label on them. A visual example of these are found here.

These pots were previously sent out with an information sheet.  You should ensure that all old information sheets are disposed of and a new, up to date information sheet is printed.  Information is reviewed regularly and the latest copy can be found here.

Where do we get the request forms from?

An ICE request form can be generated through the ICE system. Currently, we still require a printed copy to be given to the patient. 

Purple topped Histology/Cytology or a Post Vasectomy forms can also be filled out. Examples of all 3 can be found on the Request Forms tab.

How can we order toxicity tested pots?

You can either call the laboratory on 01904 726258 or email

Where can we find information sheets?

A link to the information sheets can be found in the Information Sheets tab at the top of each website page. They can also be found on the ICE system and on the trust web page.

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Invitation to attend the Trust’s Annual Members Meeting

Trust members and the general public are invited to find out more about their local hospitals by attending the Trust’s virtual Annual Members Meeting (AMM), incorporating the Annual General Meeting (AGM), on Tuesday 26 October 2021, between 11:00am-12:30pm.