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Volume 15, Issue 5 (September 2013) 15, 616–621; 10.1038/aja.2013.48

Semen analysis standardization: is there any problem in Polish laboratories?

Renata Walczak-Jedrzejowska1,*, Katarzyna Marchlewska2,*, Elzbieta Oszukowska1, Eliza Filipiak2, Leszek Bergier3 and Jolanta Slowikowska-Hilczer2

1 Division of Andrology, Department of Andrology and Reproductive Endocrinology, Medical University of Lodz, 91-425 Lodz, Poland
2 Division of Reproductive Endocrinology, Department of Andrology and Reproductive Endocrinology, Medical University of Lodz, 91-425 Lodz, Poland
3 Diagnostyka Company Ltd, Medical Laboratories, 31-513 Cracow, Poland

* These authors contributed equally to this work.

Correspondence: Professor J Slowikowska-Hilczer, (jolanta.slowikowska-hilczer@umed.lodz.pl)

Received 31 January 2013; Revised 6 March 2013; Accepted 27 March 2013 Advance online publication 1 July 2013


The aim of the study was to determine the degree of compliance of Polish laboratories with World Health Organization (WHO) recommendations, with regard to semen analysis methodology. A survey requesting information about methods of semen analysis was distributed to employees of 55 laboratories. Respondents who had participated in external seminological workshops (31%) were termed certified respondents (CR), the remaining (69%)—non-certified respondents (NCR). Only one laboratory (6%) in the CR group and none in the NCR were compliant with WHO guidelines for methods and equipment used to evaluate seminal volume, sperm motility, concentration, vitality and morphology. Most problems were of volume measurement (weighing method was reported by 17% of CR and 10% of NCR) and staining method for sperm morphology (Papanicolau or Diff–Quik were found in 33% of CR and 23% of NCR). A three- or four-point grading of sperm motility was used by the majority of respondents; however, 17% of CR and 37% of NCR did not use a laboratory counter to tally spermatozoa. Although a haemocytometer method was used by 80% of laboratories in each group, the improved Neubauer chamber was used only by 42% of CR and 19% of NCR. In each group, 24% of laboratories did not perform a vitality test. Procedural errors and the interchangeable utilization of two or even three methods to analyse a given parameter was observed in both groups. The results indicate a need for standardisation of the methods and continuous, unified training in semen analysis in Polish laboratories.

Keywords: clinical laboratory; compliance; semen analysis; World Health Organization

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