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GLOSSARY

Ejaculate

Ejaculate is the semen released in one ejaculation (orgasm). The ejaculate contains sperm, and its quality can be evaluated through a semen analysis. Anything less than 15 million sperm per milliliter, or 39 million sperm per ejaculate, is considered low, which is also known as oligospermia

What is ejaculate?

Ejaculate, also known as semen or colloquially as “cum,” is the fluid the penis releases during an orgasm. It carries sperm to fertilize an egg for pregnancy. The process of releasing semen is known as ejaculation.

As a verb, “ejaculate” also refers to the act of releasing semen from the penis.

What ejaculate contains

After a few days of sexual abstinence, ejaculation will typically produce around 2–6 mL of semen (0.4–1.2 teaspoons). It contains an average of 80 million sperm per mL, along with water and mucus. Ejaculate is also made up of secretions from sexual glands and organs, including the testis, prostate, epididymis, and seminal vesicles. These secretions include nutrients like fructose, vitamin C, proteins, and fats, which provide energy for sperm.

Ejaculate can carry sexually transmitted infections and diseases like gonorrhea, chlamydia, and hepatitis B, as well as viruses like the Zika virus.

Ejaculate and male fertility

The volume of ejaculate and the amount and quality of the sperm it contains are essential factors for male fertility. Ejaculate plays a crucial role in carrying sperm through the reproductive tract. Producing the right amount means giving sperm the best chance at reaching the egg for fertilization.

A semen analysis can provide information about your sperm health and ejaculate quality. The test examines semen volume and sperm quality, including whether there’s an adequate number of sperm in the semen and if they display standard shape (morphology) and motility.

Additionally, some analyses may test for the pH of ejaculate. A normal semen pH is slightly basic, between 7.2 and 8. A low (acidic) semen pH may impair sperm quality.

And finally, ejaculate can be tested for the presence of antisperm antibodies, immune proteins that mistakenly attack sperm. Antisperm antibodies can be found in the ejaculate after injury or trauma to the testes, genital surgery, vasectomy or vasectomy reversal, or infection.

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