Sperm Test Reliability Presentation at the IVF Coordinators Conference

We were asked to give a lecture at the in vitro fertilization coordinators seminar, organized by the Japan Infertility Counseling Society.

This year, the seminar was held on the web due to the ongoing corona pandemic. We provided a one-hour lecture discussing the main points of revision to the World Health Organization’s (WHO) semen test manual.

Some key points included in the ~300 pages of the WHO semen test manual is that it was once again recognized that there was a problem with the reliability of the semen test that is commonly performed in Japan.

It is not easy to decide the best treatment policy based on the semen test results in Japan, but in response to this there are some facilities that claim that they are performing tests to evaluate sperm DNA via a more differentiating means, and that these tests are more effective than the standard semen tests. If this is true, as we believe it to be, it means that Japan is taking steps forward to continue to improve its fertility testing and treatment practices on the whole.

Why are standard Japanese sperm tests sometimes unreliable? The presence of lap zones (areas that are neither normal nor abnormal) requires a more cautious interpretation. It is difficult to have scientifically objective data in some cases because of these zones.

In vitro fertilization (IVF) facilities that introduce the explanation of the 2021-revised WHO semen test manual on their homepage etc. can be more readily seen, and some of them may indeed be respectful and have fully understood what the WHO was trying to say about common Japanese testing and practices.

At the same time, unfortunately it is easy to estimate that many of those clinics that post that they are taking steps to improve their practices after having fully understood the revised WHO sperm test manual, likely have not read the ~300 pages of English text in the manual. This may be a shallow act for the purpose of attracting more patients, and the end result may be increased damage to the general public.

We spoke about this, among other topics, in our lecture and are trying to raise awareness of these pertinent issues in Japan.

Comments are closed.