Author(s): Aitken RJ
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Abstract This commentary celebrates the publication of the 5th edition of the World Health Organization Laboratory Manual for the Examination and Processing of Human Semen. This is the most complete text to date on the creation of a conventional semen profile and includes invaluable reference limits for specific aspects of semen quality based on the analysis of over 1 900 recent fathers. The new edition of the manual also includes detailed protocols for monitoring different aspects of sperm function and new chapters on the preparation of spermatozoa for assisted conception and cryopreservation. Given that this publication is the definitive statement on how to perform a descriptive semen analysis, we might speculate on the future of this field and the sorts of tests that might feature in future editions of the manual. Cell biologists are currently being empowered by the 'omics revolution, which is placing at their disposal technologies of unprecedented power to examine the biochemical composition of cells such as spermatozoa. Indeed, spermatozoa are perfect vehicles for this kind of analysis because they can be obtained as extremely pure suspensions, exist naturally in isolation and can be induced to express their capacity for fertilization and the initiation of embryonic development in vitro. The application of 'omics technologies to these cells, in concert with detailed assessments of their functional competence, should provide insights into the biochemical basis of defective semen quality. This information will then help us understand the causes of male infertility and to develop rational methods for its treatment and possible prevention.
This article was published in Asian J Androl
and referenced in Andrology-Open Access