Lack of impact of semen quality on fertilization in assisted conception

S Kini, D Morrell, K J Thong, A Kopakaki, S Hillier, D S Irvine

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Defective semen quality is one of the commonest causes of infertility. The diagnosis of male fertility depends upon a descriptive evaluation of human semen, however a normal semen analysis does not necessarily indicate satisfactory fertility potential.

(i) to examine the semen quality of patients undergoing treatment by assisted conception, (ii) to explore relationships between semen quality and treatment outcomes, and (iii) to look at inter-laboratory variation in the assessment of semen quality.


Semen quality in patients undergoing assisted conception treatment between 2001 and 2004 was reviewed. Data on female age, egg numbers and fertilization outcomes was obtained by case note review.


The thresholds used to direct patients towards IVF or ICSI treatment were comparable with the normal values promulgated by WHO, with the exception of morphology. Semen quality was not predictive of fertilization rates. When the results of independent measurements of the same sample were compared, there was diagnostic disagreement in between 10% - 29% of samples.


The conventional criteria of semen quality are used to determine treatment strategy for couples undergoing assisted conception but are not reflected in fertilization rates, emphasising the limited utility of the conventional criteria of semen quality in the assessment of sperm function. There remains significant inter-laboratory variation in the results of semen analysis.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)20-3
Number of pages4
JournalScottish Medical Journal
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Feb 2010


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