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J Dtsch Dermatol Ges. 2013 Sep;11(9):799-814; quiz 815. doi: 10.1111/ddg.12177.

Basic diagnostics in andrology.

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Clinic and Polyclinic for Dermatology, Venereology and Allergology, University Hospital Leipzig AöR and Leipzig Medical School of the University of Leipzig, Germany.


Basic andrological diagnosis consists of taking the patient's medical history and the couple's history as well as performing a physical examination including genital ultrasound, spermiogram, and hormonal analysis. If needed, a testicular biopsy and genetic testing may also be performed. Recent studies have shown the effect of lifestyle factors on male fertility. Thus, the patient history and clinical/andrological examinations have been broadened to include information on metabolic disorders like obesity and diabetes mellitus. The biggest changes occurred with the publication of the fifth edition of the WHO laboratory manual in 2010 and the introduction of a section on semen analysis in the German Medical Association guidelines (RiliBÄK). The reference values for almost all spermiogram parameters were adapted in an evidence-based approach using worldwide prospective population studies. For central parameters such as sperm motility and morphology, the assessment criteria were changed. New independent markers such as sperm DNA fragmentation rate are now routinely used in clinical diagnosis. For German andrological laboratories, there are now mandatory quality assurance measures for semen analysis (in the German "Rili-BÄK" guidelines). These include duplicate testing of all standard semen parameters and inter-laboratory comparison at regular intervals.

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