External quality control program for semen analysis: Spanish experience
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Purpose: Results from an external quality control programme for semen analysis carried out in Spain are analysed.
Methods: Quality control materials were distributed and the following seminal parameters were determined: concentration, total motility, progressive motility, rapid progressive motility, morphology and sperm vitality. The between-laboratories coefficients of variation were assessed on different types of quality control material.
Results: The majority of participating laboratories utilised manual versus computer-assisted semen analysis methods. Some between-laboratories coefficients of variation ranges were: 20.8–33.8% for concentration (semen pool suspension); 13.9–19.2% for total motility (videotapes); 54.2–70.2% for sperm morphology (strict criteria using stained smears); and 9.8–41.1% for sperm vitality (stained smears). There was an inverse relation between mean percentage of sperm and coefficients of variation between laboratories for sperm motility, morphology and vitality.
Conclusions: These data highlight the urgent need for improvement in the overall quality of andrology testing.
KeywordsExternal quality control semen analysis sperm concentration sperm morphology sperm motility
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