World Health Organization reference values for human semen characteristics.

Centre of Reproductive Medicine and Andrology of the University, Domagkstrasse 11, Münster, Germany.
Human Reproduction Update (Impact Factor: 8.66). 11/2009; 16(3):231-45. DOI: 10.1093/humupd/dmp048
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT Semen quality is taken as a surrogate measure of male fecundity in clinical andrology, male fertility, reproductive toxicology, epidemiology and pregnancy risk assessments. Reference intervals for values of semen parameters from a fertile population could provide data from which prognosis of fertility or diagnosis of infertility can be extrapolated.
Semen samples from over 4500 men in 14 countries on four continents were obtained from retrospective and prospective analyses on fertile men, men of unknown fertility status and men selected as normozoospermic. Men whose partners had a time-to-pregnancy (TTP) of < or =12 months were chosen as individuals to provide reference distributions for semen parameters. Distributions were also generated for a population assumed to represent the general population.
The following one-sided lower reference limits, the fifth centiles (with 95th percent confidence intervals), were generated from men whose partners had TTP < or = 12 months: semen volume, 1.5 ml (1.4-1.7); total sperm number, 39 million per ejaculate (33-46); sperm concentration, 15 million per ml (12-16); vitality, 58% live (55-63); progressive motility, 32% (31-34); total (progressive + non-progressive) motility, 40% (38-42); morphologically normal forms, 4.0% (3.0-4.0). Semen quality of the reference population was superior to that of the men from the general population and normozoospermic men.
The data represent sound reference distributions of semen characteristics of fertile men in a number of countries. They provide an appropriate tool in conjunction with clinical data to evaluate a patient's semen quality and prospects for fertility.

1 Bookmark
  • Journal of Evolutionary Biochemistry and Physiology 05/2014; 50(3):227-233. · 0.24 Impact Factor
  • [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: In this paper, hardware optimization of the preprocessing and software implementation of the processing blocks of a computer-aided semen analysis (CASA) system are proposed, which is also implemented on an FPGA and ARM device as a working prototype. The software implementation of the track initialization, track maintenance, data validation and classification blocks of the processing part are implemented on a Zynq7000 ARM Cortex-A9 processor. In the preprocessing part, a real-time cellular neural network (CNN) emulator (RTCNNP-v2) is used for the realization of the image processing algorithms, whose regular, flexible and reconfigurable infrastructure simplifies the prototyping process. The CASA system introduced in this paper is capable of processing full-HD 1080p@60 (1080 × 1920) video images in real-time.
    2014 IEEE International Symposium on Circuits and Systems (ISCAS); 06/2014
  • [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Male infertility, which amounts to half of all infertility cases, is a serious problem worldwide. The percentage of fertility-related patients in sub-Saharan African countries is higher than that for the developed countries. In low-resource countries, examination of sperm characteristics for male infertility cannot be undertaken because of poor clinical access. To evaluate male fertility in assisted reproductive medicine laboratories, the numbers of motile human sperm, the degree of sperm motility, and sperm morphology have been commonly analyzed using a microscope. It is challenging to monitor the health status of human sperm in resource-limited or remote settings for two primary reasons: (1) high capital cost (equipment for currently accepted procedural standard), and (2) complexity of the currently accepted procedural standard used to simultaneously measure human sperm concentration and motility by skillful embryologists. Determining the health status of human sperm in order to evaluate fertilization capacity using various types of low-cost, easy-to-use, and rapid devices (or systems) is a longstanding but interesting biotechnologically relevant issue in various scientific communities such as male reproduction. Furthering such efforts will inherently influence birth rate in both developed and developing nations. We have demonstrated an inexpensive but robust and easy-to-handle device for monitoring the health status of human sperm made by patterning a piece of paper and measuring the activity of a specific enzyme—a simple and elegant solution. After applying semen to the hydrophilic center circle of our patterned paper, a thiazine assay can be used to suggest sperm concentration in semen, and a tetrazolium-based colorimetric assay (MTT assay) data can be used to help estimate the percentage of motile human sperm (sperm motility) in semen based on the character that motile human sperm moved in and on the paper. Using this paper-based device, we can evaluate fertility levels without consulting doctors and use our assay to compare results with World Health Organization (WHO) reference values for sperm concentration (>2×107) and motility (>50 %). The duration and cost of one entire test are 30 min and 0.1 USD, respectively. We believe that this paper-based assay system would be useful for fertility checks based on WHO references, without need of a microscope, at home. Using this assay method, males in developed or developing countries who are reluctant or unable to consult assisted reproductive technologies clinics can self-analyze their sperm characteristics. We further note that our approach adheres to WHO regulations, especially in regard to in vitro diagnostic device performance with an associated diagnostic algorithm to enhance diagnostic accuracy (compared with just one diagnostic output), and we wish to emphasize that our research could significantly advance a broad range of diagnostic developments including paper-based diagnostic devices, in vitro diagnostic devices, and diagnosis of other diseases in various divisions of translational medicine. These results, we believe, will be of interest to a wide scientific audience working in materials science (biomaterials), chemistry (analytical and clinical), lab-on-a-chip technologies (the development of diagnostic tools), reproductive medicine, bioengineering, and translational medicine.
    Microfluidics and Nanofluidics 05/2014; 16(5):857-867. · 2.67 Impact Factor

Full-text (2 Sources)

Available from
May 21, 2014