CASA (Computer Assisted Semen analysis)
SAMi - Semen Analysis with Machine intelligence
Using an evidence based approach
Andrology Consulting solves a basic problem associated with sperm quality analysis in that despite the existence of international guidance, methods have changed little in 40 years and as such their reliability and clinical value continues to be questioned. Although sperm concentration can be evaluated with a degree of reliability, manual methods are slow and prone to error.
Manual sperm motility is highly subjective and highly inaccurate. Through education and provision of a solid evidence base, we aim to demonstrate that our slightly flawed yet widely adopted semen analysis methods should be reviewed with a keen eye and that the modern approach has to be a more objective approach and one which allows the assessment of significantly more cells in a shorter time-frame.
SAMi - Semen Analysis with Machine Intelligence
Developed by collaboration using expertise in diagnostic semen analysis at the Nottingham University Hospital (NUH) and in computer imaging/tracking at the University of Nottingham, SAMi is a reliable and easy-to-use CASA system. It provides sperm concentration measurements in line with World Health Organisation (WHO) gold standard methods and quantitative (less subjective) motility measurements based on sperm swimming speed. It is currently in use in a number of licensed and accredited laboratories in the UK and Ireland. SAMi enables simultaneous measurement of sperm number and motility in a fraction of the time. Further details and online tutorials can be found here
SAMi ValidationSperm concentration based on the imaging of a minimum number of spermatozoa as defined by the user. Sperm concentration shows parity with the Haemocytometer (current WHO, 2010 Gold standard)
Provide an analysis of sperm motility, classifying sperm into 4 distinct grades (according to the WHO, 1999). Motility is based on real swimming speed as opposed to manual analysis which is more qualitative and can ever only be an estimate at best.
Provide an analysis of the overall velocity of the motile fraction of the sperm sample. Velocity helps to assess not only how many sperm move forward but how fast they go. Of course validation of motility is very difficult so when we get asked the question - the answer starts with "how do you validate your manual assessments" in the absence of any calibrant or standard to work to. So we recommend validating using stored/recorded video clips of motile sperm created by SAMi
Flexible, reliable, easy
SAMi provides sperm concentration and motility more reliably and in a fraction of the time afforded by manual testing. Motility is based on measuring velocity for individual sperm and is therefore more quantitative and robust than any manual estimates - which are simply that, estimates. Currently we choose not to automate sperm morphology testing since despite more than 40 years of research, the evidence base to support current methods is weak, therefore we would only be automating a system which lacks validation.
SAMi can be offered on a variety of platforms such as a mini compact PC, all in one PC avoiding clutter on the bench. It just requires a quality phase contrast microscope usually with a x10 objective. Andrology Consulting can help tailor a system to your needs whether it is used for diagnostics or therapeutic sperm assessments e.g. cryopreservation. If you need more information don't hesitate to get in touch.
Important publications in relation to CASA and quality in andrology
- Tomlinson MJ and Naeem A (2018). Computer-aided sperm analysis (CASA) in the medical laboratory: CASA in diagnostic andrology and assisted conception. Reproduction, Fertility and Development 30(6) 850-859 https://doi.org/10.1071/RD17520
- Aljaser FS, Campbell BK, Almajed FS4 and Tomlinson MJ (2017). Efficacy of Ultra-Rapid Freezing by Direct Immersion into Liquid Nitrogen for Sperm Cryopreservation and Its Potential for Male Fertility Preservation. Int J Innov Res Med Sci (IJIRMS) 2, 10, 1401-1412.
- Tomlinson MJ, Comajuan E, Naeem A and Pooley K (2016). Standards in reporting cryopreserved donor sperm characteristics: Should they be reported post thaw or post wash? RBMonline, 33(1):111-113
- Tomlinson MJ (2016). Debate : Uncertainty of measurement and clinical value of semen analysis: Has standardisation through professional guidelines helped or hindered progress ? Andrology, 4, 763-770.
- Dearing C, Kilburn S and Lindsey K (2014). Validation of the sperm class analyser CASA system for sperm counting in a busy diagnostic semen analysis laboratory. Hum Fertil (Camb) 2014 Mar;17(1):37-44.doi: 10.3109/14647273.2013.865843. Epub 2013 Dec 20.
- Tomlinson MJ, Lewis S and Morroll D (2013). Sperm quality and its relationship to natural and assisted conception: British Fertility Society Guidelines for Practice. Human Fertility 16(3):175-93.
- Tomlinson MJ, Naeem A, Hopkisson JF and Campbell B (2012) . Brief Communication: Assessment and validation of non-spermicidal condoms as specimen collection sheaths for semen analysis and assisted conception. Hum Fertil 15, 140-143