Seasonal variation in semen quality: effect of temperature: a study in North India


  • Kirti Balhara Department of Pathology, Maulana Azad Medical College, New Delhi, India
  • Sarika Singh Department of Pathology, Maulana Azad Medical College, New Delhi, India
  • Sunita Sharma Department of Pathology, Lady Hardinge Medical College, New Delhi, India



Semen quality, Male infertility, Temperature


Background: Variable temperature in different seasons may affect the quality of semen. Most of the studies are from west barring a single large Chinese study with variable results; however, no such study focusing on temperature alone has been published from Indian subcontinent. Present study was undertaken to observe any seasonal variation affecting the semen quality at different times of year.

Methods: The study was conducted retrospectively over one year period (2014-2015) at a tertiary care hospital in North India. 815 semen samples referred from infertility clinic were analysed for Sperm concentration, functional sperm concentration, motile sperm concentration and sperm motility index by an automated semen analyser system (SQAIIC-P, Medical Electronic Systems, Los Angeles, CA, USA); and morphological assessment by Papanicolaou stained smears. Statistical analysis was done using SPSS 24 software (SPSS Inc, Chicago, IL, USA). The ANOVA test was used to assess differences in semen parameters, p<0.05 was considered as statistically significant.

Results: Depending on the average highest temperature (AHT) in different seasons, samples were categorized in four groups: winter AHT <10°C, spring AHT <20°C, autumn/rainy season AHT 20-30°C and summer AHT >30°C.There was significant variation on different parameters e.g. sperm count, motility, FSC, MSC, SMI, abnormal sperms and morphological defects when compared in different groups using ANOVA test (p<0.05).

Conclusions: Present study observed that AHT of 20-30°C (autumn) has a favourable effect on semen quality; however, larger and continuous data in the form of longitudinal study is needed for better correlation.


Salas-Huetos A, Bullo M, Salas-Salvado J. Dietary patterns, foods and nutrients in male fertility parameters and fecundability: a systematic review of observational studies. Hum Reprod. 2017;23:371-89.

Agarwal A, Mulgund A, Hamada A, Chyatte MR. A unique view on male infertility around the globe. Reprod Biol Endocrinol. 2015;13:37.

Carlsen E, Giwercman A, Keiding N, Skakkebaek NE. Evidence for decreasing quality of semen during past 50 years. BMJ. 1992;305:609-13.

Swan SH, Elkin EP, Fenster L. The question of declining sperm density revisited:An analysis of 101 studies published 1934-1996. Environ Health Perspect. 2000;108:961-6.

Cooper TG. WHO laboratory manual for the examination and processing of human semen. 5th ed. Switzerland: WHO Press; 2010.

Levine RJ. Male factors contributing to the seasonality of human reproduction. Annals New York Acad Sci. 1994;709:29-45.

Henkel R, Menkveld R, Kleinhappl M, Schill WB. Seasonal changes in human sperm chromatin condensation. J Assisted Reprod Gen. 2001;18(7): 371-7.

Yogev L, Kleiman S, Shabtai E, Botchan A, Gamzu R, Paz G et al. Seasonal variations in pre- and post-thaw donor sperm quality. Human Reprod. 2004; 19:880-5.

Carlsen E, Petersen JH, Andersson AM, Skakkebaek NE. Effects of ejaculatory frequency and season on variations in semen quality. Fertil Steril. 2004; 82(2):358-66.

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

Gyllenborg J, Skakkebaek NE, Nielsen NC, Keiding N, Giwercman A. Secular and seasonal changes in semen quality among young Danish men: a statistical analysis of semen samples from 1927 donor candidates during 1977-1995. Int J Androl. 1999; 22(1):28-36.

Chen Z, Toth T, Godfrey-Bailey L, Mercedat N, Schiff I, Hauser R. Seasonal variation and age-related changes in human semen parameters. J Androl. 2003;24(2): 226-31.

Singh I, Devi VS. Human Embryology. 11th ed. New Delhi: Jaypee Brothers Medical Publishers; 2018:30-1.

González-Marín C, Gosálvez J, Roy R. Types, causes, detection and repair of DNA fragmentation in animal and human sperm cells. Int J Mol Sci. 2012;13(11): 14026-52.

Varghese AC, Bragais FM, Mukhopadhyay D, Kundu S, Pal M, Bhattacharyya AK et al. Human sperm DNA integrity in normal and abnormal semen samples and its correlation with sperm characteristics. Andrologia. 2009;44(4):207-15.

Kruger TF, DuToit TC, Franken DR, Acosta AA, Oehninger SC, Menkveld R, et al. A new computerized method of reading sperm morphology (strict criteria) is as efficient as technician reading. Fertil Steril. 1993;59(1):202-9.






Original Research Articles