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.

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Available from: Trine B Haugen, Apr 21, 2014
    • "Semen samples from five individuals with normal sperm parameters according to WHO values (Cooper et al., 2010) were incubated with an equal volume of T. munbyanus dilutions of essential oil or thymol. Solutions of T. munbyanus essential oil were prepared in 5% dimethyl sulfoxide (DMSO) at concentrations of 100, 250, 500, 750 and 1000 µg/ml; control samples were incubated with 5% DMSO. "
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    ABSTRACT: Traditional medicine has been used worldwide for centuries to cure or prevent disease and for male or female contraception. Only a few studies have directly investigated the effects of herbal compounds on spermatozoa. In this study, essential oil from Thymus munbyanus was extracted and its effect on human spermatozoa in vitro was analysed. Gas chromatography and Gas chromatography-mass spectrometry analyses identified 64 components, accounting for 98.9% of the composition of the oil. The principal components were thymol (52.0%), γ-terpinene (11.0%), ρ-cymene (8.5%) and carvacrol (5.2%). Freshly ejaculated spermatozoa was exposed from control individuals to various doses of the essential oil for different time periods, and recorded the vitality, the mean motility, the movement characteristics (computer-aided sperm analysis), the morphology and the ability to undergo protein hyperphosphorylation and acrosomal reaction, which constitute two markers of sperm capacitation and fertilizing ability. In vitro, both the essential oil extracted from T. munbyanus and thymol, the principal compound present in this oil, impaired human sperm motility and its capacity to undergo hyperphosphorylation and acrosome reaction. These compounds may, therefore, be of interest in the field of reproductive biology, as potential anti-spermatic agents. Copyright © 2015. Published by Elsevier Ltd.
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    • "The latter one was measured by pipette. The percentage of participants above recommended levels of the WHO for sperm parameters was calculated (Cooper et al., 2010). "
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    • "In addition, semen samples were obtained from 29 male patients (aged 30 – 55 years) consulting for couple infertility with no known risk factors and normal or mild defects of semen quality values that were used in husband ART (IVF-ICSI: in vitro fertilization-intracytoplasmic sperm injection technique) (Table I). The reference values of fertility were those most recently defined by the WHO (Cooper et al., 2010; WHO, 2010). Semen volume, count, motility and morphology, including the teratozoospermia index (TZI), as well as the results of the gynaecological assessment of the female partner, for the samples used for the epigenetic studies are summarized in Table I. "
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