Sperm morphology is correlated with fertility in men, yet the existing, subjective sperm morphology assays provide only a limited insight into patients' infertility. Here, we provide the experimental background for a new, objective and automated semen assay, based on the cross-reactivity of defective human spermatozoa with antibodies against a proteolytic marker peptide, ubiquitin. Using immunofluorescence and flow cytometry, we screened the spermatozoa from 17 infertility patients and two fertile donors for their cross-reactivity with anti-ubiquitin antibodies. Thirteen out of 17 patients, but neither of two fertile donors, displayed an increased binding of anti-ubiquitin antibodies to sperm surface, that reflected the occurrence of abnormalities in these samples and was corroborated by available clinical data. Highest correlation coefficient (r = –0.432) was obtained with the cleavage rate after IVF. The contribution of male factor was revealed in several couples previously diagnosed with idiopathic infertility. Ubiquitin-cross-reactive sperm-surface proteins thus seem to be a universal marker of semen abnormalities, including sperm head and tail defects and semen contaminants such as spermatids, leukocytes and cellular debris. We propose that the sperm-ubiquitin tag immunoassay (SUTI) may be a valuable diagnostic tool in treatment of male factor and idiopathic infertility.