DOUGLAS T. CARRELL AND
RONALD L. URRY
It was traditionally assumed by many scientists and clinicians that the female was nearly always responsible for problems with reproduction. This attitude undoubtedly slowed advances in male reproductive physiology; fortunately, this situation is gradually changing. First, males are beginning to understand their role and responsibility in fertility and infertility. Second, sensitive and informed practitioners and health care personnel are becoming more available to work with men undergoing testing and treatment, helping to reduce the humiliation and embarrassment previously common to male infertility patients. Last, recent advances in testing for and treating sperm defects have dramatically changed the prognosis for many patients. Because of these changes in society, medical training, and scientific knowledge, evaluation and treatment of male infertility have become both common and highly successful.
Semen analysis is the first test used to determine a male's fertility potential; in some areas it may be the only test available. It is often poorly performed by technicians with little or no training, in which case the minimal information obtained does not greatly aid in the diagnosis of a potential male fertility problem. In addition, semen quality can be extremely variable in any given male and thus a minimum of two to three