Author(s): Brazil C
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Abstract Accurate semen analysis is critical for decisions about patient care, as well as for studies addressing overall changes in semen quality, contraceptive efficacy and effects of toxicant exposure. The standardization of semen analysis is very difficult for many reasons, including the use of subjective techniques with no standards for comparison, poor technician training, problems with proficiency testing and a reluctance to change techniques. The World Health Organization (WHO) Semen handbook (2010) offers a vastly improved set of standardized procedures, all at a level of detail that will preclude most misinterpretations. However, there is a limit to what can be learned from words and pictures alone. A WHO-produced DVD that offers complete demonstrations of each technique along with quality assurance standards for motility, morphology and concentration assessments would enhance the effectiveness of the manual. However, neither the manual nor a DVD will help unless there is general acknowledgement of the critical need to standardize techniques and rigorously pursue quality control to ensure that laboratories actually perform techniques 'according to WHO' instead of merely reporting that they have done so. Unless improvements are made, patient results will continue to be compromised and comparison between studies and laboratories will have limited merit.
This article was published in Asian J Androl
and referenced in Andrology-Open Access