To assess whether the 4-week time period between semen analyses during the workup of male infertility is optimal and whether two samples are needed.
Men whose semen samples were obtained within 90 days of each other, without known fertility intervention, treatment, and/or azoospermia.
Main Outcome Measure(s)
Correlation between semen parameters and agreement among consecutive semen analyses.
A total of 2,150 semen samples from 1,075 men were included in the analysis. The optimal correlation for volume occurred at weeks 2, 8, and 12 (r = 0.803, r = 0.802, and r = 0.821, respectively). For concentration, the correlation was maximized at weeks 1, 4, and 5 (r = 0.950, r = 0.841, and r = 0.795, respectively). Total sperm count correlated at weeks 1, 2, and 4 (r = 0.929, r = 0.727, and r = 0.808, respectively). Motility was maximally correlated at weeks 1, 10, and 13 (r = 0.711, r = 0.760, and r = 0.708, respectively). Morphology was optimally correlated at weeks 1, 2, and 9 (r = 0.935, r = 0.815, and r = 0.839, respectively). Semen volume was correlated in 55% of men, sperm concentration in 64% of men, sperm motility in 52% of men and sperm morphology 64% of men.
Our data suggest that four weeks may not be the optimal time for repeat semen analysis and that one sample is insufficient to assess any abnormalities in the result of semen analysis. The optimal time between repeat semen analyses should be individualized depending on the results of the initial analysis and additional factors, suggesting the need for future large-scale studies to investigate this trend.