Interpretation of semen analysis among infertile couples.
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Among the male partners of 1074 infertile couples the mean results of semen analysis were sperm count 78 X 10(6)/ml, seminal volume 4.0 ml, proportion of progressively motile sperm 54%, proportion of sperm with normal morphologic features 81.4% and total motile sperm count 152.3 X 10(6) per ejaculate. After excluding 65 couples who chose donor insemination and 300 with known female causes of infertility, the cumulative pregnancy rates in the remaining 709 couples were higher with increasing sperm density and motility and seminal volume, but the higher rates were significant only when these variables were combined into total motile sperm count per ejaculate. The cumulative pregnancy rates were 20% with a total motile sperm count of 9 X 10(6) or less, 37% with a count of 10 to 19 X 10(6) and 52% with a count of 20 X 10(6) or more (p = 0.001). Counts higher than 20 X 10(6) were not associated with a further improvement in pregnancy rates, but variability in the results was high, which suggests that the test should be repeated as necessary to determine the true range. Although standards for these and other seminal variables are ill defined, the total motile sperm count incorporates the most useful prognostic information from semen analysis, and the associated pregnancy rates can help guide clinical decisions.
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