WHO laboratory manual for the examination of human semen and semen-cervical mucus interaction. 2nd ed.
The WHO Special Programme of Research, Development and Research Training in Human Reproduction has revised its manual designed to standardize procedures for the examination of human semen. This revised manual, for instance, describes a simplified method for screening the morphology of cellular elements other than spermatozoa; the previous method now appears in the section on optional procedures. WHO has also included methods to determine the presence of spermatozoa antibodies. The manual has guidelines on measurement of biochemical components of seminal plasma to evaluate the secretory function of accessory glands (e.g., fructose indicates secretory function of the seminal vesicles). Even though these biochemical tests may not mark a man's fertility, they demonstrate the functional state of these glands. Besides, someday they may even help assess the possible effects of xenobiotic factors and of disease. Some researchers believe adenosine triphosphate levels are linked to spermatozoal function and that the zona free hamster oocyte test can determine the ability of human spermatozoa to join with the oocyte; so WHO has listed protocols for these 2 tests. The manual also has protocols to assess the ability of spermatozoa to penetrate cervical mucus in vitro: the microscopic method and the capillary tube test. WHO believes that determining this ability is important when evaluating the fertility of a couple. The Standard Procedures section on collection and examination of human semen considers appearance, volume, consistency, pH, motility, preparation and grading, agglutination, sperm viability, sperm count, and testing for antibody-coating of spermatozoa. The section on sperm cervical mucus interaction examines volume, consistency, ferning, spinnbarkeit, cellularity, pH, and in vivo and in vitro tests. It hopes that researchers will adapt the standard procedures presented in this manual to improve quality control between laboratories and allow aggregation of data from several sources for analysis.