Increased abstinence period results in improved semen volume, sperm concentration and total motile concentration in sperm banking patients

      Objective: Semen quality is dependent on highly variable factors, including activity of accessory glands, size of the testes and time since the last sexual activity (WHO, 2010). The extent of these influences have been difficult to determine and are not routinely used in interpretation of the semen analysis. However, quality is of paramount importance when sperm are needed for fertility treatments.
      Design: Retrospective database analysis.
      Materials and Methods: The study group included all patients seeking sperm cryopreservation for medical or social reasons. A total of 1205 unique sperm banking patients, providing 1877 specimens were analyzed for 1/2004 through 12/2015. Specimens presenting with no sperm, or 0% motility were excluded. Specimens were collected by masturbation at the facility and days abstinence was self-reported. All specimens were evaluated 30 minutes after ejaculation by the same two technologists using quality-controlled Makler chambers. The patient groups were divided based on days abstained: <2, 2–3, 4–5, 6–7, >7. Data on patient age, days abstinence, volume, concentration, total count, total motile count, and % motility were analyzed using one-way ANOVA and Tukey post-hoc test. Significance was set at P < 0.05.
      Results: Semen volume, concentration, and total motile count were significantly improved with an increasing days abstinence up to 6–7 days, beyond which parameters showed some decrease. However, sperm concentration was highest at >7 days. There was no difference between initial % motility in the group with <2 days abstinence versus 4–5 and 6–7 days, however, > 7 days resulted in a significant decrease in motility.
      Conclusions: In this selected patient population, an increase in abstinence appeared to yield a significantly improved sperm count, sperm concentration, total motile count and semen volume. There was no significant change in motility with increased abstinence up to 6–7 days, beyond which motility significantly decreased. Our findings are similar to the results of Levitas E et al. (Fertil.Steril. 83:1680–6, 2005). The data suggest that the role of days abstinence, particularly for men before sperm banking or assisted reproduction procedures, is more important than previously considered. Furthermore, a recommended abstinence of 4–7 days may result in better quality sperm in these groups. Further study of the relationship between daysabstinence, sperm parameters and fertility potential is warranted.
      Disclosures: None.
      Funding: None.