Comparison of three staining methods for the morphological evaluation of human spermatozoa
Objective: To compare different staining methods to evaluate human sperm morphology. Design: Prospective study. Setting: Patients at the Departments of Dermatology and Urology, University of Jena, Germany. Patient(s): A total of 94 randomly collected patients attending the andrological outpatient clinics of the Departments of Dermatology and Urology, University of Jena, Germany. Intervention(s): None. Main Outcome Measure(s): Statistical comparison of resultant standard morphological parameters (mean percentages) after staining according to Papanicolaou and Shorr methods and with Testsimplets® prestained slides. Result(s): All morphological parameters investigated (percent normal morphology, percent head, midpiece, and flagellar abnormalities) correlated statistically significantly positively, however with markedly lower correlation coefficients for the Testsimplets®results. As compared with the mean Papanicolaou (4.78% ± 2.54%) and Shorr staining (4.75% ± 2.64%) results, a statistically significantly lower percentage of morphologically normal spermatozoa was determined after using the Testsimplets® slides (3.89% ± 2.53%). In general, the mean values of all parameters differed for all comparisons with the Testsimplets® slides and especially for the percentage of flagellar defects but not between the Papanicolaou and the Shorr staining results. Conclusion(s): The results show an extensive agreement between the Papanicolaou- and Shorr-stained smears, whereas Testsimplets® staining exhibited statistically significant deviations. Because the correct evaluation of sperm morphology is of essence within the scope of assisted reproduction and in andrological diagnostics, the use of rapid staining methods cannot be recommended. © 2008 American Society for Reproductive Medicine.