Racial and Sociodemographic Differences of Semen Parameters Among US Men Undergoing a Semen Analysis

Published:October 06, 2018DOI:



      To characterize sociodemographic differences in semen parameters among US men undergoing a semen analysis.

      Materials and Methods

      Men who provided a semen sample were identified from insurance claims between 2007 and 2016. Differences in semen parameters were characterized according to age, race, education, and region. Mean semen parameters and proportions of men with suboptimal parameters were compared and risks of oligospermia and azoospermia were assessed by logistic regression.


      Of the 7263 men included, most men were white (55.1%), Hispanic (20.2%), or Asian (10.2%). Asians had the highest mean semen concentrations (69.2 × 106/mL), whereas blacks had the lowest (51.3 × 106/mL). Men from the Midwest were more likely to have oligospermia (odds ratio [OR] 1.62; 95% confidence interval [CI] 1.34-1.94), whereas men from the West were less likely (OR 0.82; 95% CI 0.82-0.94) when compared with men from South. An association between education and sperm concentration was observed. For example, men with a high school diploma or less were more likely to have oligospermia (OR 1.09; 95% CI 0.95-1.26), whereas men with at least a bachelor degree were less likely (OR 0.87; 95% CI 0.76-1.0) when compared with men with less than a bachelor degree.


      As we observed differences in semen quality based on sociodemographic factors, these findings may have clinical implications as relying on a single reference value when guiding infertile couples may be problematic given these variations. Further work is warranted to understand the etiology of such differences and determine if different normative reference values may apply for different populations.
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