On the 28th and 29th of November 1996 and again on the 12th and the 13th of December 1996 the Research Unit for Andrology and Reproductive Endocrinology of the University Hospital Gent organized two-day training courses in laboratory andrology. This was the third year that such courses were held with attendance limited to 15 participants. The courses are directed towards the heads of clinical laboratories performing semen analysis.

The course starts with an in depth presentation of the role of semen analysis in the diagnosis of the infertile male, integrating the flowchart for male diagnosis printed in the World Health Organization Manual for the Standardized Investigation and Diagnosis of the infertile couple (Rowe et al., 1993). Attention is also focused on aspects of degrees of infertility and the accuracy of conventional sperm characteristics in discriminating between probably fertile, subfertile and infertile semen. Furthermore, pitfalls in techniques of sperm analysis are highlighted, as is the role of cytological, biochemical and immunological methods for the clinical management of the infertile couple.

During the afternoon, participants are divided into 4 groups which are given demonstrations of conventional and advanced techniques of semen analysis in different locations of the andrology lab. During the second day morning session, participants perform all techniques of semen analysis themselves under guidance of 8 laboratory technicians and staff members. The afternoon session of the second day is devoted to a presentation on internal and external quality control of semen analysis and to interactive discussion of cases on file. Participants are invited to enroll voluntarily in a program of external quality control which is set by the Research Unit of Andrology. In addition, the heads of laboratory are given the opportunity to send some of their technicians for in-depth training at the andrology lab so they may acquire additional practical skills and experience. (This training program is given in Dutch and is supported by the bioMérieux Company.)

Frank Comhaire, Belgium



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