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Impact of seasonal variation, age and smoking status on human semen parameters: The Massachusetts General Hospital experience



To investigate the relationship of human semen parameters with season, age and smoking status.


The present study used data from subjects recruited into an ongoing cross-sectional study on the relationship between environmental agents and semen characteristics. Our population consisted of 306 patients who presented to the Vincent Memorial Andrology Laboratory of Massachusetts General Hospital for semen evaluation. Sperm concentration and motility were measured with computer aided sperm analysis (CASA). Sperm morphology was scored using Tygerberg Kruger strict criteria. Regression analyses were used to investigate the relationships between semen parameters and season, age and smoking status, adjusting for abstinence interval.


Sperm concentration in the spring was significantly higher than in winter, fall and summer (p < 0.05). There was suggestive evidence of higher sperm motility and percent of sperm with normal morphology in the spring than in the other seasons. There were no statistically significant relationships between semen parameters and smoking status, though current smokers tended to have lower sperm concentration. We also did not find a statistically significant relationship between age and semen parameters.


We found seasonal variations in sperm concentration and suggestive evidence of seasonal variation in sperm motility and percent sperm with normal morphology. Although smoking status was not a significant predictor of semen parameters, this may have been due to the small number of current smokers in the study.


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This study was funded by support from the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences (grant # ES09718 and ES00002).

The authors thank Lucille Pothier, Computer Programmer at the Harvard School of Public Health, for assistance with data analysis. We also thank Ana Trisini, (Research Assistant at Harvard School of Public Health, Department of Environmental Health) for assistance with manuscript editing and Nelta Mercedat Lozius (Clinical Laboratory Assistant at Massachusetts General Hospital, Obstetrics & Gynecology Services) for assistance with analysis the samples.

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Correspondence to Zuying Chen.

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ZC, LG-B, IS, and RH all contributed equally to this work and reviewed the manuscript.

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Chen, Z., Godfrey-Bailey, L., Schiff, I. et al. Impact of seasonal variation, age and smoking status on human semen parameters: The Massachusetts General Hospital experience . J Exp Clin Assist Reprod 1, 2 (2004).

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