Is the semen analysis a reliable test?

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations


The semen analysis is one, if not the most, important and widely used clinical laboratory test to evaluate the fertility potential of the male. However, recent reports have suggested that the semen analysis is unreliable. Quality control in the andrology laboratory is often seen as problematic, and many laboratories do not routinely employ QC procedures in semen testing. Quality assurance is an often overlooked and unappreciated aspect of overall quality laboratory performance. External proficiency testing programs in andrology are not universally accepted, and the results from the few programs currently available demonstrate huge variations between laboratories. Numerous different standards and criteria are being used by andrology laboratories, making it difficult if not impossible to compare results from one laboratory to another. However, reliable semen analyses can be obtained by following several recommendations: (1) all laboratories performing the semen analysis should adopt universally accepted performance standards and criteria, (2) all laboratories performing this test should participate in external proficiency testing programs, (3) andrology laboratories should implement effective internal quality control and quality assurance programs to ensure that the results reported are accurate and reproducible, and (4) physicians should only refer their patients to, or accept semen analysis results from, laboratories that have stringently followed these recommendations.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)85-90
Number of pages6
JournalZhonghua nan ke xue = National journal of andrology
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 2005
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine(all)


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