Sexual and reproductive health

World Health Organization reference values for human semen

Human Reproduction Update

Cooper et al.

Human Reproduction Update

Publication details

Number of pages: 15
Publication date: 24 November 2009
Languages: English - Web only


This manuscript describing the first evidence-based, global reference values for human semen characteristics was e-published ahead of print on 24 November 2009, in Human Reproduction Update. Semen quality is taken as a surrogate measure of male fecundity in clinical andrology, male fertility, reproductive toxicology, epidemiology and pregnancy risk assessments.

Reference intervals for values of semen parameters from a fertile population could provide data from which prognosis of fertility or diagnosis of infertility can be extrapolated. Semen analysis reference ranges provide an appropriate tool, in conjunction with clinical data, to evaluate a patient’s semen quality and prospects for fertility. These values are an important component of the forthcoming 5th edition of the WHO Laboratory Manual for the Examination and Processing of Human Semen.