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Semen volume is an often overlooked parameter of male fertility. Increasing semen volume sometimes overcomes fertility problems that otherwise would be very difficult to treat. The primary determinant of semen volume is frequency of sexual intercourse. The sperm are made in the testes, but the semen is secreted by the prostate. A man may have a low semen volume with a high sperm count, or a high semen volume with a low sperm count. Although semen production is highly variable, men typically produce 1 to 2 ml of semen every day. That is about 1/5 to 2/5 of a teaspoon. When men abstain from intercourse, the volume of semen can be 10 to 20 times greater than usual, although sperm count may only be 3 to 5 times normal (because some sperm with mature and die while still inside the man's body). Still, temporary abstinence from sexual intercourse greatly increases both semen volume and sperm count.

Even when sperm count is not an issue, increased semen volume may be helpful. Sometimes the problem with conception is the quality of the female partner's cervical mucus. If the cervical mucus is dry, thin, or brown with inflammatory chemicals, sperm will have a great deal of difficulty "swimming" to the fallopian tubes. Even if the cervical mucus is optimally thin, white, and "stretchy," increased semen volume makes it easier for individual sperm to propel themselves to the fallopian tubes to find the egg to fertilize. And the surest way to increase semen volume is always to abstain from intercourse until the female partner knows she is at her maximum fertility, preferably with the help of a device such as a Clearblue Fertility Monitor.

Do any supplements increase semen volume? There is some scientific evidence, although the studies were published in Chinese, that the traditional Chinese herb epimedium, also, appropriately, known as horny goat weed, increases semen volume and erectile strength. The amino acids L-arginine and L-lysine are also important in the production of seminal fluid, but few men suffer shortages of these nutrients. There is also benefit in simply drinking more water. Avoiding dehydration will ensure that fluids are available to the lining of the prostate to dilute semen.

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