Sperm selection in IVF laboratories is one of the key steps to obtaining good quality embryos. It is one of the key factors in determining the success of an assisted reproduction treatment. Depending on the sperm quality, there are different techniques available for the preparation of the sperm sample.
Which technique will be used to prepare sperm for an IVF treatment?
Our biologists follow strict protocols for sperm preparation and are able to advise the couple regarding the best individual technique to be used.
The first step in preparing sperm for IVF treatment is in vitro capacitation. This technique changes the composition of the sperm membrane which enables it to be able to fertilize the egg. It involves washing and purifying the sperm sample. The sample will be prepared in the laboratory using the Swim-Up technique or with Density Gradients.
Once the sperm is prepared, ICSI technique is performed. The embryologist selects a spermatozoon based its morphology and mobility and then proceeds to micro-injecting the egg with the selected sperm.
” At ProcreaTec, the ICSI technique is performed in most IVF cycles. This has led to fertilization rates of 95%”.
Additional techniques which can be used in case of poor sperm quality
Even if normal sperm criteria is not met, there are more advanced techniques to improve the selection of the best sperm in order to maximize the embryo quality. Depending on the sperm quality, the embryologist will recommend one of the following techniques:
The PICSI technique: This technique allows the selection of the sperm according to their affinity with one of the components of the outer layer of the egg (hyaluronic acid).
To perform this technique, a special hyaluronic acid-containing plate is used: the best sperm with the greatest affinity for this compound are bound to this plate and thus, the selection of good sperm is made easier for the embryologist. This technique will be especially recommended if the sperm count is low.
FertileChip: This technique consists of selecting sperm based on the DNA fragmentation. It consists of a chip that has two chambers connected by a microfluid channel. The process consists in putting the sperm sample into the entrance hole. The sperm that swim through the channel and reach the exit chamber are those that will be used for the microinjection.
Depending on the quality of the sperm, or the assisted reproduction treatment, our embryologists may recommend a sperm DNA fragmentation test first, to check if this technique can optimize sperm selection.
Can we improve the sperm quality?
The quality of a sperm sample cannot be improved, but the above-mentioned techniques allow the embryologist to better select the sperm, which will be later microinjected. Sperm quality depends mainly on the following factors:
– Lifestyle factors: being overweight, stress, smoking or a high alcohol intake are all factors that negatively affect the sperm.
– Age: it has been reported that after the age of 45, sperm quality decreases.
– Genetic factors
How to improve one’s sperm sample:
There are small changes made in the man’s life which can have an impact on the quality of the sperm sample. Most of these factors are related to a healthy lifestyle. Here are some recommendations:
– Avoid drugs, cigarettes and alcohol
– Follow a healthy diet
– Regular physical exercise
If you are trying to achieve a pregnancy with in Vitro Fertilization treatment, it is recommended to adopt a healthy lifestyle at least for 3 months before the treatment starts. This way, new sperm with better quality will be produced.
The ProcreaTec medical team is available to answer all your questions about sperm quality. Depending on your results, our doctors can recommend the best diet or the necessary vitamin supplements that may help improve your sperm quality. At ProcreaTec, our goal is to help you succeed. Our team will make all the necessary recommendations and will put all our resources available for you.