Diagnostic tools in male infertility-the question of sperm dysfunction

Christopher L. R. Barratt, Steven Mansell, Catherine Beaton, Steve Tardif, Senga K. Oxenham

    Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

    77 Citations (Scopus)


    Sperm dysfunction is the single most common cause of infertility, yet what is remarkable is that, there is no drug a man can take or add to his spermatozoa in vitro to improve fertility. One reason for the lack of progress in this area is that our understanding of the cellular and molecular workings of the mature spermatazoon is limited. However, over the last few years there has been considerable progress in our knowledge base and in addressing new methods to diagnose sperm dysfunction. We review the current state of the field and provide insights for further development. We conclude that: (i) there is little to be gained from more studies identifying/categorizing various populations of men using a basic semen assessment, where an effort is required in making sure the analysis is performed in an appropriate high quality way; (ii) technological development is likely to bring the reality of sperm function testing closer to implementation into the clinical pathways. In doing this, these assays must be robust, cheap (or more appropriately termed cost effective), easy to use and clinically useful; and (iii) clinical necessity, e. g., the need to identify the highest quality spermatozoon for injection is driving basic research forward. This is an exciting time to be an andrologist and, likely, a fruitful one. Asian Journal of Andrology (2011) 13, 53-58; doi: 10.1038/aja.2010.63; published online 22 November 2010

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)53-58
    Number of pages6
    JournalAsian Journal of Andrology
    Issue number1
    Early online date22 Nov 2010
    Publication statusPublished - Jan 2011


    • Gamete biomarker
    • Male fertility
    • Sperm biomarker
    • Sperm dysfunction
    • Morphologically selected sperm
    • Semen analysis still
    • Zona pellucida
    • Quality assurance
    • Intracytoplasmic injection
    • Density gradient
    • Andrology
    • Binding
    • Organization
    • Proteomics


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