Continued existence of significant disparities in the technical practices of sperm morphology assessment and the clinical implications: results of a French questionnaire

This survey highlights great disparities in techniques and use of sperm morphology assessments, explaining why they lack analytic reliability and trust from professionals.

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Volume 107, Issue 2, Pages 365–372

Authors:

Nicolas Gatimel, Pharm.D., Ph.D., Lucile Mansoux, M.Sc., Jessika Moreau, M.D., Jean Parinaud, M.D., Ph.D., Roger D. Léandri, M.D., Ph.D.

Abstract:

Objective

To investigate current practices for sperm morphology assessment.

Design

E-mail survey questionnaire.

Setting

Diagnostic and clinical institutions/laboratories.

Patient(s)

French biologists and clinicians (n = 225).

Intervention(s)

None.

Main Outcome Measure(s)

Answers to 24 questions.

Result(s)

The survey shows that even now in France there is great inconsistency in the use of sperm morphology assessments. For example, the survey revealed that no fewer than six different staining techniques were in use. Automatic reading is hardly used (used by 2.5% of the biologists replying to the survey). More than 33.6% of biologists use a threshold of normal forms unsuited to their classification, and 20% do not perform any internal quality control in this area. Prescribing doctors seldom trust the tests, likely due to their lack of analytic reliability. Among the biologists surveyed 26% said the percentage of normal forms is either unreliable or not very reliable in analytic terms, and 24% of clinicians stated that it has little clinical relevance.

Conclusion(s)

The survey reveals a marked lack of uniformity in French laboratories for performing sperm morphology assessment and in the use of the results by physicians. Regular quality control procedures and well-trained personnel, up to date with their training and conversant with the latest techniques as well as harmonized practices, are clearly indispensable. It is time for a consensus on the practice and interpretation of this particular test.


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Fertility and Sterility

Editorial Office, American Society for Reproductive Medicine

Fertility and Sterility® is an international journal for obstetricians, gynecologists, reproductive endocrinologists, urologists, basic scientists and others who treat and investigate problems of infertility and human reproductive disorders. The journal publishes juried original scientific articles in clinical and laboratory research relevant to reproductive endocrinology, urology, andrology, physiology, immunology, genetics, contraception, and menopause. Fertility and Sterility® encourages and supports meaningful basic and clinical research, and facilitates and promotes excellence in professional education, in the field of reproductive medicine.

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