Summary. Assessments of the penetrating potential of human spermatozoa were carried out using the zona-free hamster oocyte penetration test on 4 groups of subjects exhibiting (1) normal fertility, (2) idiopathic asthenozoospermia(< 40% motility), (3) asthenozoospermia associated with varicocoele and (4) oligoasthenozoospermia (<20 × 106 spermatozoa/ml and <40% motility). When the Poisson model was used to correct the results of the in-vitro penetration experiments for differences in motile sperm concentration, significant differences were apparent between the normal fertile controls and all 3 categories of asthenozoospermic patient. Furthermore, the penetrating ability of the motile spermatozoa from patients presenting with a varicocoele or oligoasthenozoospermia was significantly less than that for the group in which asthenozoospermia was the only detectable defect. These results emphasize the practical significance of the Poisson model in the analysis of male fertility and demonstrate that the asthenozoospermic condition is associated with a significant reduction in the fertilizing potential of the motile spermatozoa.
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