Semen analysis in African laboratories: Is it valid to use the reference ranges from the WHO 5th edition manual for clinical interpretation?
Journal of Reproductive Biotechnology and Fertility
JRBF Online Publications
School of Medical and Health Sciences
Semen analysis is the core screening test for male fecundity, and the WHO hasproduced a series of manuals with recommended methodology to minimize technical variation together with reference ranges to help standardize clinical interpretation. Whilst numerous reports show semen characteristics vary between geographical locations and racial groups, African men were not included in the analyses undertaken to provide data for the reference ranges included in the WHO 5th Edition manual. Before the current global reference ranges published by WHO can be used by African laboratories, they must confirm their suitability for local African men. Futhermore, the standardized methods described in the WHO 5thEdition manual need to be used and validated in African Laboratories before verification studies for African subjects can be undertaken, and the inclusion of results from African men when the 6th Edition manual is written would seem warranted.