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Original Research

Open Access

The impact of the new 2021 reference limits of the World Health Organization criteria for semen analyses

  • Mehmet Erhan Aydın1
  • Özgür Özbek2
  • Tevfik Çetin2
  • Mustafa Sungur1
  • Coşkun Kaya1,*,
  • Aykut Aykaç1

1Department of Urology, Health Science University Eskisehir City Health Application and Research Center, 26080 Eskisehir, Turkey

2Department of Urology, Eskisehir City Hospital, 26080 Eskisehir, Turkey

DOI: 10.22514/jomh.2024.086 Vol.20,Issue 6,June 2024 pp.21-24

Submitted: 04 February 2024 Accepted: 27 February 2024

Published: 30 June 2024

*Corresponding Author(s): Coşkun Kaya E-mail: coskun.kaya@sbu.edu.tr

Abstract

The World Health Organization (WHO) published the first laboratory manual in the 1980s and this has been updated several times since. The sixth version of this manual, the latest to be issued, was published in 2021. In the sixth version, the distribution of semen parameters was given instead of the reference level and some parameter limits were decreased or increased. This study aimed to evaluate the impact of the new 2021 WHO semen analysis reference values by reclassifying previous semen analysis parameters. All semen analyses performed between 01 July 2021 and 01 September 2023 were collected retrospectively. Semen volume, sperm concentration (×106/mL), total sperm motility (%), and progressive sperm motility (%) were evaluated according to 2010 and 2021 WHO semen analysis reference values. Then, the percentile changes of the normal (at or above the reference limits) results of each parameter and overall semen parameters were evaluated. 2535 spermiograms were included in the study. According to the 2010 WHO criteria, 42.99% of semen specimens were at or above the reference limits for all parameters whereas, samples with all parameter values at or above the 2021 WHO reference limits were 43.55%. It was found that the number of each semen parameter that were recategorized due to the new limits for volume, sperm concentration, progressive, and total motility were 0.9%, 1.1%, 3.2% and 2.8%, respectively. 29 semen results (1.1%) that had all parameter values at or above the new reference limits were reclassified as a normal spermiogram based on the new 2021 criteria. The 2021 WHO semen reference limits do not influence the percentile of men who require infertility treatment.


Keywords

Semen analysis; WHO criteria; Male infertility


Cite and Share

Mehmet Erhan Aydın,Özgür Özbek,Tevfik Çetin,Mustafa Sungur,Coşkun Kaya,Aykut Aykaç. The impact of the new 2021 reference limits of the World Health Organization criteria for semen analyses. Journal of Men's Health. 2024. 20(6);21-24.

References

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