Prospective surveillance of semen quality in the workplace

Marc B Schenker, S. J. Samuels, C. Perkins, E. L. Lewis, D. F. Katz, J. W. Overstreet

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

15 Scopus citations


We performed a prospective surveillance of semen quality among workers in the plant where 1,2-dibromo-3-chloropropane was first recognized as an occupational cause of impaired semen quality and of infertility. All male employees of the Agricultural Chemical Division were required to participate. Ninety-seven workers (92% participation) provided 258 semen samples over the 4 years of the program. Most samples were analyzed at the plant with a mini-laboratory designed for the study. Motility and shape measures were made objectively. Sixty-six subjects (68%) were non-azoospermic. Generalized multiple regression showed no significant predictors for any response, with the exception of the motility measures, which were reduced with longer times between ejaculation and assay. Between- and within-person standard deviations and correlations were calculated. Comparison of this population with fertile artificial insemination donors (16 men, 498 ejaculates) revealed generally higher ejaculate-to-ejaculate standard deviations in the workers samples. This is probably due to less well controlled conditions of sperm collection in the workplace setting. For cross-sectional studies, one ejaculate per worker is recommended as sufficient; for estimating an individual worker's mean, even three ejaculates may not provide enough precision.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)336-344
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Occupational Medicine
Issue number4
StatePublished - 1988

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health


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