Distribution of Semen Examination Results 2020 - a follow up of data collated for the WHO semen analysis manual 2010

Martin J. Campbell, Francesco Lotti, Elisabetta Baldi, Stefan Schlatt, Mario P. R. Festin, Lars Björndahl, Igor Toskin, Christopher L. R. Barratt (Lead / Corresponding author)

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

44 Citations (Scopus)
691 Downloads (Pure)


Background: It is now 11 years since publication of the WHO 2010 guidelines for semen assessment values, and it is critical to determine whether they are still valid and/or whether they should be modified.

Objectives: To utilise data published since 2010 and combine these with data used in the 2010 assessment to provide an updated and more comprehensive representation of the fertile man. This may be utilised to present an updated distribution of values for use by WHO in 2021.

Materials and Methods: Two specific analyses were performed namely, (1) Analysis 1: Examination of published data following publication of WHO 2010 [termed 2010–2020 data]. (2) Analysis 2: Examination of the data used to help formulate the 2010 distribution of values combined with the data from Analysis (1) [termed WHO 2020].

Results: In total, data from more than 3500 subjects, from twelve countries and five continents were analysed. The 5 th centile values for concentration, motility and morphology are: 16 × 10 6/ml, 30% progressive motility [42% total motility] and 4% normal forms.

Discussion: This study presents substantial additional information to establish more comprehensive and globally applicable lower reference values for semen parameters for fertile men although they do not represent distinct limits between fertile and subfertile men. There are still data missing from many countries and, some geographical regions are not represented. Moreover, the number of subjects although significant is still relatively low (<4000).

Conclusion: These distributions of values now include semen analysis providing a more global representation of the fertile man. Increasing the number of subjects provides robust information that is also more geographically representative.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)817-822
Number of pages6
Issue number3
Early online date2 Feb 2021
Publication statusPublished - May 2021


  • Semen Analysis
  • WHO
  • Reference Values
  • Fertile Men
  • reference values
  • fertile men
  • semen analysis

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Urology
  • Endocrinology
  • Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism
  • Reproductive Medicine


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