In trying to discern potential causes of male infertility, little investigation has been done to determine if there is predictive value in assessing acrosome reaction inducibility of human spermatozoa for clinical interpretation and application. The purpose of this review is to outline what is currently known in terms of the diagnostic significance of the induced acrosome reaction and to discuss what might be anticipated for the future. In constructing this review, every effort has been made to provide a comprehensive literature review for the reader and a number of review articles have been cited to serve as sources for additional related material. Regarding the aforementioned, it is essential to qualify that, with the exception of the Section entitled: ‘General characteristics of capacitation and the acrosome reaction’, only characteristics, properties and areas relevant to human spermatozoa will be addressed. Thus, in total, this review will: (1) provide a general description of capacitation and the acrosome reaction; (2) briefly characterize the acrosome and its properties; (3) address the signalling mechanism(s) by which the acrosome reaction occurs; (4) outline various methods for detecting the acrosome reaction; (5) define in vitro culture conditions that facilitate the acrosome reaction; (6) define agents, i.e., biological and chemical, that induce the reaction; (7) discuss the association of the acrosome reaction with fertilization; (8) discuss the clinical implications of the induced acrosome reaction; (9) discuss the relevance of sperm function assays in general; and lastly, (10) discuss future application of acrosome reaction assessment for the clinical diagnosis of male infertility.