Selecting The Perfect Sperm = Higher Pregnancy Rates
It is well understood it takes a “good” sperm and “good” egg to produce a healthy embryo. Unfortunately, while scientific steps are being gradually made, we cannot, today, easily evaluate the quality of one’s eggs. This requires the utmost attention to be provided to selecting the highest quality sperm for use with In Vitro Fertilization (IVF). Multiple studies have proven that sperm quality has a direct impact on early and late embryo development. MCRM Fertility is utilizing multiple innovative and unique techniques to select the “best” sperm.
How does one find the needle in the haystack with the “haystack” simply the entire ejaculate specimen and the “needle” the “good” sperm? Through the utilization of a combination of techniques such as ICSI, PICSI and a unique approach available at MCRM Fertility, the sperm nanobead selection process.
Recommended Sperm Selection Process
- Sperm Sample Arrives in Lab
- Sperm Wash over Gradient
- Magnetic Nanobead Sperm Selection
Intracytoplasmic Sperm Injection (ICSI) Process
The ICSI process is standard with all in vitro fertilization procedures at MCRM Fertility. The process injects one, selected sperm into the cytoplasm of an individual oocyte (egg). Initially, a sperm sample is prepared using multiple techniques in order to eliminate poor quality sperm. The remaining specimen of “healthy” sperm is then placed under high-magnification for visual inspection by an embryologist. The embryologist will select the “best looking” sperm using a fine glass needle. Next, the embryologist selects and individual oocyte and holds it in place with a specialized pipette. Once the oocyte is held in place, the embryologist uses the fine glass needle with the pre-selected sperm inside and punctures through the shell of the oocyte and into the cytoplasm. Then, slowly and gently the sperm is injected, and the needle removed.
Magnetic Nanobead Selection Process
MCRM Fertility has a tool available to help reduce the size of the “haystack”. In Spring 2015, MCRM began to utilize a technique that filters a semen sample using magnetic-activated cell sorting (MACS). The process begins with the addition of magnetic nanobeads to a semen sample. The beads attach to a sperm whenever particular proteins are present on the surface of the sperm cell. These proteins are early indicators of decay for the sperm leading to an identifier of poor quality. When the sample of sperm and beads is filtered through a magnetic funnel, the sperm with attached beads are pulled away towards the magnetic surface and only the “purest, higher-quality” sperm filter through. This new “haystack” is then utilized for the ICSI process.
Preselective Intracytoplasmic Sperm Injection (PICSI)
A Positive Sperm Selection Process
Preselective Intracytoplasmic Sperm Injection (PICSI) is a technique that simulates the natural selection of mature sperm, post-Nanobead Sperm Selection, for the process of ICSI. In natural conception, the fertilization of an oocyte only occurs by a sperm that is capable of binding to hyaloronan present on the surface of the oocyte. This interaction can only be achieved by a mature sperm. Hyaluronan is a compound found naturally in the reproductive tract, as well as, other areas of the body and specifically in connecting cells of an oocyte.
The PICSI method includes the addition of small droplets of hyaluronan to a sample of sperm. The sperm that attaches to the hyaluronan is then selected for use in ICSI.