Impact of age, clinical conditions, and lifestyle on routine semen parameters and sperm kinematics

Age negatively correlated with a wide range of routine semen parameters and sperm motility kinematics. Patients older than 40 years showed decreased sperm quality, worsened by obesity and smoking.

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Volume 110, Issue 1, Pages 68–75.e4

Authors:

Gustavo Luis Verón, M.Sc., Andrea Daniela Tissera, B.S., Ricardo Bello, M.Sc., Fernando Beltramone, M.D., Gustavo Estofan, M.D., Rosa Isabel Molina, B.S., Mónica Hebe Vazquez-Levin, Ph.D.

Abstract:

Objective

To assess the impact of aging on routine semen and computer-assisted sperm analysis (CASA) motility parameters according to the current World Health Organization guidelines; and to evaluate the effect of obesity and lifestyle (alcohol consumption, cigarette smoking) in older men's semen.

Design

Blind cross-sectional study.

Setting

Research laboratory and andrology and reproduction laboratory.

Patient(s)

A population of 11,706 men.

Intervention(s)

None.

Main Outcome Measure(s)

Semen analysis: routine (semen volume, sperm concentration and count, motility, vitality, morphology, hypo-osmotic swelling test, round and peroxidase-positive cell concentration) and CASA (straight-line velocity, curvilinear velocity, average path velocity, linearity, straightness, beat cross frequency, wobble, amplitude of lateral head displacement, and mean angular displacement) parameters; and body mass index.

Result(s)

A negative correlation was found between age and routine semen parameters: volume, sperm count, motility, vitality, total motile spermatozoa and normal-motile spermatozoa, round cell concentration, and hypo-osmotic swelling test values. Several CASA variables (straight-line velocity, curvilinear velocity, average path velocity, beat cross frequency, amplitude of lateral head displacement, and mean angular displacement) were also negatively affected. Using 40 years as a cut-off value, significant differences in most parameters correlated to age. In a selected subpopulation of men unexposed to known fertility-compromising factors, the same evaluations were performed, finding some parameters still decreased. Although obesity exerted a significant deleterious effect on older patients’ semen quality, alcohol consumption and cigarette smoking mildly affected it.

Conclusion(s)

Male aging, with the contribution of unhealthy conditions, are paramount effectors of sperm quality deterioration.


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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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