Longitudinal study of semen quality of unexposed workers. I. Study overview

Reprod Toxicol. 1988;2(3-4):183-90. doi: 10.1016/0890-6238(88)90020-2.


A longitudinal study of 45 men was conducted evaluating the semen quality of monthly samples collected over 9 months. The statistical variation of sperm count, semen volume, percentage of motile sperm, sperm velocity, sperm morphology, and sperm viability, assessed by both the vital stain and the hypoosmotic swelling (HOS) assay, were each evaluated using intraclass correlations and coefficients of variation. Sperm count and semen volume had large intraclass correlations (62% and 60%, respectively), indicating that if a subject has a high count or volume he will tend to continue to have high counts or volumes. On the other hand, sperm velocity had an intraclass correlation of only 16% indicating that fluctuations within a subject were nearly as large as fluctuations from subject to subject. The remaining parameters had intraclass correlations ranging from 42% to 47%. Sperm count, percent motile sperm, and semen volume each had large coefficients of variation (both between and within subjects). These variables, especially count, had relatively poor precision. Sperm velocity, percent motile sperm, percent normal morphology, the HOS assay, and the vital stain assay had lower coefficients of variation, indicating greater precision.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Cell Survival / physiology
  • Humans
  • Longitudinal Studies
  • Male
  • Occupational Health*
  • Population Surveillance
  • Reference Values
  • Semen / cytology*
  • Sperm Count
  • Sperm Motility / physiology
  • Spermatozoa / pathology