In search for the general population’s semen profile: the study of sperm parameters in partners of women with chronic anovulation

Willem Ombelet, Eugene Bosmans, Annemie Cox, Mia Janssen, Greet Mestdagh, Martine Nijs

Genk Institute for Fertility Technology, Department of Obstetrics and Gynaecology, ZOL, Campus St Jan, Schiepse Bos6, 3600 Genk, Belgium.

Correspondence at: willem.ombelet@telenet.be

Keywords:

Chronic anovulation, general population,human, semen analysis, sperm morphology


Published online: Jun 03 2009

Abstract

Background: Human fertility is linked to sperm quality and therefore the establishment of reference values for normality is mandatory.

Aims: The first aim was to establish a reference profile of men in the general population by examining the semen of partners of women with chronic anovulation. The second aim was to determine the prevalence of sperm abnormalities in this patient group.

Methods: Sperm samples of 304 partners of patients with chronic anovulation were analysed prospectively. Semen samples were examined according to WHO guidelines, for sperm morphology Tygerberg strict criteria were used. We compared the results of this study with the cut-off values for normality we obtained in a previous study performed in our centre.

Results: The mean value was 3.1 ml for volume, 64.7 mill / ml for concentration, 51.9% for progressive motility (grade a + b motility) and 7.4% for sperm morphology. Single parameter and double parameter abnormalities were observed in 42.7% and 8.2% of cases respectively. A normal sperm sample for all three parameters was noted in 46% of cases. Oligo-Astheno-Teratozoospermia was present in 3.0% of cases while azoospermia was found in two patients (0.7%).

Conclusion: We believe that the study of sperm parameters in partners of patients with chronic anovulation can be used to study the prevalence of sperm abnormalities in the general population. Our data show that semen abnormalities are not uncommon in partners of women with chronic anovulation, highlighting the importance of a semen examination in every infertility work-up, even in case of obvious female pathology.