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In Current opinion in urology

PURPOSE OF REVIEW : The sixth edition of the World Health Organization (WHO) laboratory manual for the examination and processing of human semen was recently published with specific step-by-step instructions for semen evaluation and sperm processing. Point-of-care (POC) testing for semen evaluation and microfluidics for sperm processing are rapidly evolving technologies that could impact how we evaluate and process sperm. Understanding the updated manual in the context of these novel technologies is important.

RECENT FINDINGS : Proper standardization of semen evaluation and sperm processing will allow for consistent high-quality results among laboratories worldwide. POC testing could improve access to semen evaluations that generate referrals to male infertility specialists for further assessment. Microfluidics can select functional sperm with decreased DNA fragmentation in semen and testicular biopsy samples for assisted reproductive technology (ART). Clinical outcomes, such as pregnancy rates and live birth rates, have not been shown to be consistently improved with these technologies compared to conventional techniques, although high level evidence research in this area is limited.

SUMMARY : POC testing and microfluidics have the potential to be combined with machine learning technologies to improve fertility care. If these technologies are appropriately optimized, they could change how we evaluate and process sperm, and potentially lead to improved ART outcomes.

Schardein Jessica N, Fendereski Kiarad, Hotaling James M