Module information

Module details

Principles and Practice of Reproductive Science and Diagnostic Semen Analysis
Module code

Aim of this module

This module will provide the trainee with knowledge and understanding of the normal physiology of the male and female reproductive tracts. They will apply this knowledge as they learn to perform a range of techniques and interpret results from diagnostic semen analysis. They will also gain knowledge of current legislation and regulations.

Work-based content


# Learning outcome Competency Action
# 1 Learning outcome 1,2,5 Competency

Receive, process and store samples for analysis.

Action View
# 2 Learning outcome 3 Competency

Set up and use relevant microscopes. To include optical principles, maintenance and clinical applications.

Action View
# 3 Learning outcome 1,2,3 Competency

Measure semen volume, extent of liquefaction and appearance.

Action View
# 4 Learning outcome 1,2,3 Competency

Perform repeated sperm counts for concentration and motility using the same semen sample and be able to explain the variation observed.

Action View
# 5 Learning outcome 1,2,3 Competency

Perform diagnostic sperm counts for concentration and motility on different patients and be able to prepare reports for discussion with your supervisor.

Action View
# 6 Learning outcome 3,4 Competency

Identify normal and abnormal semen samples. To include sperm concentration, motility assessment, morphology, anti-sperm antibody testing, sperm viability testing.

Action View
# 7 Learning outcome 3,4 Competency

Perform gradient and swim-up techniques for the preparation of semen samples for treatment.

Action View
# 8 Learning outcome 4 Competency

Produce a record of reports seen and discussed with your supervisor.

Action View
# 9 Learning outcome 2,3 Competency

Control infection risks in accordance with departmental protocols.

Action View
# 10 Learning outcome 2,3 Competency

Minimise risks and hazards in compliance with health and safety policies.

Action View


You must complete:

  • 1 case-based discussion(s)
  • 1 of the following DOPS/ OCEs:
Receive semen samples and log into the laboratory information system DOPS
Perform sperm counts using the same semen sample and explain variation observed DOPS
Perform diagnostic sperm counts on different patients DOPS
An appropriate activity agreed with your Training Officer OCE

Learning outcomes

  1. Apply and interpret quality assurance methodologies in reproductive science.
  2. Apply health and safety methodologies and practices appropriate to the reproductive science laboratory.
  3. Perform to accepted standard relevant techniques for semen analysis and preparation.
  4. Prepare, interpret and report on diagnostic semen analysis (under supervision).
  5. Work in partnership with the reproductive science laboratory and other clinical specialisms in the investigation of infertility.

Academic content (MSc in Clinical Science)

Important information

The academic parts of this module will be detailed and communicated to you by your university. Please contact them if you have questions regarding this module and its assessments. The module titles in your MSc may not be exactly identical to the work-based modules shown in the e-portfolio. Your modules will be aligned, however, to ensure that your academic and work-based learning are complimentary.

Learning outcomes

  1. Describe male and female reproductive anatomy.
  2. Describe male and female reproductive physiology.
  3. Explain and evaluate current legislation and regulation as it relates to reproductive science.
  4. Describe relevant techniques for semen analysis and preparation.
  5. Describe and evaluate the application of quality assurance methodologies to reproductive science.
  6. Discuss the purpose and process of preparation and interpretation of clinical diagnostic reports.
  7. Describe the partnership of reproductive science with other clinical specialisms and contribution to patient care.

Indicative content

  • Overview of sexual differentiation, including differentiation of the fetal testes and ovary, and the endocrinology and embryology of sexual differentiation
  • The anatomy and physiology of the male reproductive tract
  • The anatomy and physiology of the female reproductive tract
  • Hormonal control of female reproduction, including the menstrual cycle, follicle growth, autocrine and paracrine factors regulating follicle growth, follicular fluid, ovulation, corpus luteum
  • Hormonal control of male reproduction
  • Basic understanding of the regulatory mechanisms associated with human assisted reproductive therapy (ART)
  • The roles of ART centre staff: clinicians, scientists, clinical embryologists, nurses, counsellors
  • Principles of and standards for diagnostic semen analysis
  • Characteristics of normal and abnormal semen samples
  • Semen preparation, including different methodologies, diagnostic tests and functional tests

Clinical experiences

Important information

Clinical experiential learning is the range of activities trainees may undertake in order to gain the experience and evidence to demonstrate their achievement of module competencies and assessments. The list is not definitive or mandatory, but training officers should ensure, as best training practice, that trainees gain as many of these clinical experiences as possible. They should be included in training plans, and once undertaken they should support the completion of module assessments and competencies within the e-portfolio.


  • Participate in multidisciplinary team meetings at which a range of relevant clinical cases and/or procedures are discussed. Review and discuss the patient pathway through the treatment process and the benefits of a multidisciplinary approach.
  • Visit a clinical biochemistry laboratory. Review and discuss the methods used for the measurement and reporting of reproductive
  • Attend infertility clinics and assisted conception Review and report on their role and importance in the patient pathway.
  • Observe work activities with specific reference to embryology procedures from egg collection to embryo transfer (including in vitro fertilisation [IVF], intracytoplasmic sperm injection [ICSI], embryo culture, embryo freezing and thawing) and theatre procedures (including egg collection and embryo transfer), and review these procedures in relation to the patient journey through investigation and treatment.
  • Observe follicular and clinical pregnancy scanning to follow the patient pathway and understand how monitoring is carried out in a controlled ovarian stimulation regimen.
  • Observe, participate and review the application and interpretation of quality assurance methodologies in Reproductive Science.
  • Review and discuss the preparation, interpretation and reporting of diagnostic semen analysis.