Flickr Pinterest YouTube E-mail


| What’s possible nowadays when it comes to the assessment of male fertility

Icon image | Photo: Shutterstock

The causes of unwanted childlessness may vary widely from one couple to another and therefore require an individual approach. This is why the male factor is moving more and more into the focus of attention of science.

Today, we know that spermatozoa ought to be investigated with considerably greater accuracy in order to recognize any possible disorders. Such disorders might have an impact on the fertilization of the ovum, on embryonic development and possibly also on the health of the child.

What is a spermiogram?

A spermiogram (semen analysis) enables to obtain an overview regarding male sperm quality by analyzing and evaluating the semen in the laboratory by means of special methods and technologies. The results obtained provide information on a male’s reproductive capacity.

Prof. Dr. Herbert Zech

Prof. Dr. Herbert Zech |
IVF Zentren Prof. Zech

“The spermiogram plays a role in fertility treatment, both for therapy planning and during the treatment itself. This is why we at our IVF centers offer our patients three specially developed spermiogram variants (A, B, C). These semen analyses adhere to the highest standards in modern medicine and are established on site at our IVF centers by biologists specializing in this field. In the framework of medical advice during the initial consultation, the established diagnosis provides information as to whether, and if so, which type of spermiogram would be best suited to the situation at hand. Additionally, an urologist/andrologist may, where appropriate, be consulted.” (→ more information on the initial consultation)

Let us take a closer look at each of these spermiogram variants.

Spermiogram A (Standard/WHO) includes the analysis of the semen sample by using standardized investigation methods along with the associated reference values defined by the World Health Organization (WHO). This type of spermiogram forms the basis for the assessment and provides a first overview in terms of sperm concentration as well as motility, vitality, structure and shape (morphology) of the spermatozoa.

In Spermiogram B, the main emphasis is put on the detailed morphological analysis by means of the IMSI technology. This investigation allows viewing living spermatozoa at high magnification and carrying out an in-depth diagnosis of possible morphological abnormalities in the sperm head, mid-piece and flagellum. This procedure involves the use of the IMSI technology (Intra-cytoplasmic Morphologically selected Sperm Injection). Another advantage of this approach compared to conventional morphological analysis according to WHO standards, is the possibility to depict the spermatozoa three-dimensionally in real time (“live” analysis).


For the individual testing of sperm morphology as provided for in spermiogram B, Nomarski differential interference contrast (DIC) microscopy is used. Nuclear vacuoles (defects) become clearly visible when subject to 6000 x magnification (!). The diagnostic classification of spermatozoa is done using the Vanderzwalmen 2008 criteria. (Images © scientific laboratories IVF Zentren Prof. Zech – Bregenz)

Spermiogram C, with molecular sperm diagnostics, includes in addition to the WHO criteria and a detailed assessment of sperm morphology, the measurement of oxidative stress, a detailed analysis of sperm vitality, the determination of sperm DNA fragmentation as well as the assessment of sperm chromatin maturity. This kind of spermiogram contributes to a better understanding of male factor infertility and gives guidelines for the selection of the most appropriate treatment option.

To sum up, oocyte and sperm are equally important for embryonic development. This is why, in the context of fertility treatment, particular attention is paid to their quality. A closer look into the sperm factor (as described above) suggests that assessing and subsequently selecting the spermatozoa with the highest fertilization ability are important steps on the path towards the longed-for child.

» Possible causes of infertility in men

(Page |

» Home

(Startpage |

» Contact

(Page |