Assisted Reproduction Male Factor

Techniques used in andrology laboratories: MACS

This method has many benefits although only a handful of centres still currently use it. For over twenty-five years, magnetic-activated cell sorting (MACS) has been used for treatment when the male factor has a big impact. The method enables the best sperm to be selected, thus increasing the chances of fertilisation.


For severe male factor infertility, sperm quality can affect the treatment’s success rate as it affects the development of the fertilisation process in its early hours.

In the 1990s, when ICSI was discovered by Paul Devroey, the use of MACS was called into question. It was deemed unnecessary as ICSI enabled fertilisation to take place using any sperm type.

Lab research, however, has continued and new selection criteria have been added. In addition to morphology and motility, which are measured using density gradients or swim-up, molecular biology must also be taken into account. MACS enables apoptotic sperm -those sperm that display signs of dying cells- to be rejected. This type of sperm shows increased phosphatidylserine in the outer membrane which attracts the coated microspheres of annexin V (magnetic colloidal particles) used in the technique. The process, therefore, enables this sperm to be retained and separated from the rest of the sperm.

The technique can be applied in any of the following treatments:


Pre-implantation genetic diagnosis treatments

– High percentage of fragmentation of the sperm’s DNA

– Repeated miscarriage

– Failed implantation

– Low embryo quality in previous cycles

ProcreaTec is one of the few centres that continues using this technique successfully, by tailoring it to particular cases and performing it properly. If you would like to receive further information, please contact our centre and request an appointment to make a diagnosis.

About the author


At ProcreaTec, we understand the road toward a healthy pregnancy is not always easy. Through this blog, we want to reach out to all who are struggling on the path of infertility to find support. If you have any questions or would like to tell us about your situation, you can comment on the posts or send us an e-mail.
If you would like to learn more about our clinic, we invite you to visit our website
ProcreaTec: converting patients into parents.

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