The International IVF Initiative - i3

Session 60: Beauty is in the Eye of the Beholder – Human Sperm Morphology Assessment

International IVF Initiative

Session 60: Beauty is in the Eye of the Beholder – Human Sperm Morphology Assessment

Session 60: Beauty is in the Eye of the Beholder – Human Sperm Morphology Assessment

Tuesday 20th April, 2021. 3PM EST/ 8PM GMT / 9PM CET  

This session is kindly sponsored by ZyMōt™ Fertility.


Dr. Sarah Martins Da Silva & Dr. Kelly Tilleman


"Sperm Form and Function"
Dr. David Mortimer

"Origins, Evolution, and Clinical Significance of the Tygerberg Strict Criteria"
Dr. Roelof Menkveld

"Training, QC/QA and Decision Limits for Sperm Morphology"
Dr. Lars Bjorndahl



Born Originally from the UK: BSc (Hons) Zoology from Bristol (UK) 1974 and PhD (Edinburgh) 1977; post-doctoral fellowships in Edinburgh, Paris and Birmingham; Faculty member at the University of Calgary (Canada) in Obs & Gynae and Medical Physiology 1983–1991. Research focused on human sperm pathophysiology. Scientific Director of Sydney IVF (Australia) 1991–1999. Co-founder of the ESHRE Basic Semen Analysis courses in 1994. President of the Canadian Fertility and Andrology Society 2009–2010; Associate Editor of Human Reproduction Update 2011–2014. Member of Accreditation Canada’s ART Standards Working Group since 2007, and of the Canadian Standards Association since 2008. Honorary Senior Lecturer, University of Dundee School of Medicine (UK) since 2017.

David has given many invited lectures and taught in workshops and courses worldwide. Author/co-author of almost 300 conference presentations and 160 publications, including the books Practical Laboratory Andrology (Oxford University Press, 1994), Quality and Risk Management in the IVF Laboratory (Cambridge University Press, 2005; 2nd edition 2015), and A Practical Guide to Basic Laboratory Andrology (Cambridge University Press, 2010). Academic publications h-index = 39.

He became a full-time consultant in 1999 and, with his wife Dr Sharon Mortimer, established the Vancouver-based international reproductive biomedicine consulting company, Oozoa Biomedical, in 2000. Major activities include designing new ART laboratories and cryobanks, upgrading or implementing new lab systems, helping laboratories develop Total Quality Management programmes, performing TQM audits, and advising companies developing products for the reproductive biomedicine field.

He currently serves as Scientific Advisor to Mellowood Medical (Canada), Planer (UK), Hamilton Thorne (USA) as well as several ART centres internationally.


Special achievement: Founder/Author of the (Tygerberg) strict criteria method for the evaluation of human sperm morphology, as part of my PhD dissertation (1987), which is now the official WHO (2010) method for human sperm morphology evaluation.

Academic qualifications:
• BSc.Agric University of Stellenbosch (1970).
• Hons.BSc in Medical Sciences in Cytogenetic, University of Stellenbosch (1972).
• MSc in Medical Sciences in Cytogenetic, University of Stellenbosch (1980).
• PhD in Medical Sciences (Cytology/Andrology), University of Stellenbosch (1987).
Current position:
• Retired. Special appointments:
• Outside lecturer: Associate professor, Department Obstetrics and Gynaecology, Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences, Stellenbosch University.
Previous: Professor and Chief Specialist Scientist and Director of the Andrology Laboratory, Department of Obstetrics and Gynaecology, Tygerberg Academic Hospital and Stellenbosch University, Tygerberg (Cape Town), South Africa.
Professional activities:
• Past coordinator ESHRE SIG-Andrology: July 2011 – July 2013
• Co-ordinator ESHRE SIG-Andrology: 2008 to 2011.
• Member ESHRE SIG Andrology subcommittee for EQC program for semen analyses.
• Member ESHRE SIG Andrology training subcommittee.


Basic medical training at Karolinska Institutet 1976-82, post graduate student (thesis on human sperm chromatin stability and zinc, 1986). Swedish Licensed Physician and Specialist in laboratory medicine. Establishment and development of a new Andrology Laboratory at the Karolinska University Hospital 1987-2000. In 2001 recruited to the Assisted Conception Unit, Birmingham Women’s Hospital and University of Birmingham for quality assurance of semen analyses; Scientist in Human Reproductive Biology, Director of Andrology and Honorary Senior Lecturer. In 2010 appointed Senior Consultant Physician at the Centre for Andrology and Sexual Medicine (CASM) at the Karolinska University Hospital. Since 2013 Head of the Andrology Laboratory and Tissue Establishment of CASM, later ANOVA.
Coordinator (1999-) of Semen Analysis External Quality Control Program and Courses on Basic Semen Analysis. Member of WHO editorial committee for the Semen Analysis Manual, 5th edition and Editor-in-Chief of the revision leading to the 6th edition; WHO Infertility Global Guidelines and Research Group. Project Leader, ISO Basic Semen Examination Standard. Associate Editor of Human Reproduction Update and Andrology.



Sarah Martins da Silva is a Senior Lecturer in Reproductive Medicine at University of Dundee. She runs a translational research programme focussed around male infertility, sperm biology and drug discovery. She was recognized for her research in 2019 and named as one of the most inspiring and influential women from around the world by BBC 100 women.
Sarah studied Medicine at University of Edinburgh and qualified MBChB in 1995. She is an Honorary Consultant Gynaecologist, Clinical Lead for NHS Tayside Infertility Services and Person Responsible for Ninewells Assisted Conception Unit. Her clinical activities include diagnostic ultrasound, infertility clinics and assisted conception (egg retrieval, surgical sperm retrieval, embryo transfer). She runs clinics specifically for male infertility as well as a sperm studies research clinic for couples affected by unexplained low/no fertilization following IVF/ICSI.


Kelly's research experience started in the field of proteomics where she obtained a PhD in biomarker research in inflammatory arthritides at the University of Ghent in 2007. At that time, she combined her scientific enthusiasm with the responsibility of quality manager for an accredited DNA fingerprinting laboratory. As a post-doctoral fellow she got in touch with the group op Petra De Sutter, as they joined forces in several research projects and  joined the fertility department Sutter  headed in November 2009. Kelly combined the task of quality manager of the fertility center with scientific research in the area of fertility preservation.
During the years, she combined quality management with project and laboratory process management.
Currently, Dr. Tilleman is the director of the Ghent University Hospital IVF lab, where she is privileged to work with a very dynamic and enthusiastic team.
Kelly is the  coordinator of the special interest group SQART at ESHRE, Belgian representative for EDQM at the Council of Europe and board member of international organization ICCBBA (ISBT-128).


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