Assessment of sperm motility, and its relationship with sperm function and fertility

Document Type

Journal Article

Publication Title

Journal of Reproductive Biotechnology and Fertility


JRBF Online Publications


School of Medical and Health Sciences




Waller, E.-J., Roberts, P., Matson, P. (2019). Assessment of sperm motility, and its relationship with sperm function and fertility. Journal of Reproductive Biotechnology and Fertility, 8, 30-53. https://www.ivf-hub.net/journal-archive-new/2019-2/


The 2010 World Health Organization laboratory manual for the examination and processing of human semenis provided and favored for assisted reproductive technology units in the investigation of male infertility. Conventional semen analysis is the primary measure for the evaluation of male fertility. This review critically examines conventional sperm motility assessment methods and reports on the lack of standardization and reproducibility associated with subjective measures and absence of a biological standard. The role of sperm motility in the development of more sophisticated fertility-related diagnostics and testing methods are discussed, with focus on the genetic causes of asthenozoospermia and the potential development of genetic biomarkers.Sperm preparation methods are closely examined to highlight factors which can negatively affect the reliability of sperm motility assessment. The association between sperm motility and clinical outcomes in IUI and ICSI cycles is also examined, with IUI and ICSI as comparable examples of a natural and non-natural sperm selection environmentfor which known sperm motility values can be assessed. Male accessory gland infection/inflammation is discussed regarding its role in impaired sperm motility,and in thecase of Human Papilloma virus as a possible explanation for unknown male infertility. Finally, although this review concentrates specifically on sperm motility, by considering outcomes from total motile sperm counts, this review acknowledges the advantages of assessing multiple semen parameters.

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