Clinical Importance of Sperm Preparation by Electrophoresis

A successful pregnancy following electrophoretically selected sperm was reported by Ainsworth et al. (2007). Later, a prospective controlled clinical trial was performed comparing electrophoretically separated sperm with DGC selected sperm (Fleming et al., 2008). In this split-cohort study, no statistical difference in fertilization rate, embryo cleavage rate, top quality embryo, or clinical pregnancy was observed between the two insemination groups. The lack of statistical significance in fertilization rate and embryo quality was observed in both IVF and ICSI patient groups (Fleming et al., 2008). Although no statistical significant between the two insemination groups, this study provides the proof-of-principle, that electrophoretically separated sperm could be used for ART.

Conclusion

Electrophoretic sperm separation procedure is an extremely versatile and cost-effective method of preparing sperm based on their negative membrane charge. The sperm selected using this approach have shown adequate recovery rate and a significant improvement in sperm morphology and vitality. DNA damage is reduced in the selected sperm population as this procedure excludes the centrifugation step, which is known to induce oxidative stress on sperm. The sperm obtained from this method could directly be used for ART. However, to date there is no conclusive evidence to confirm the effectiveness of this approach in the management of male infertility and the selected sperm could effectively improve ART success. Further evidence research is required to prove the effective use of this sperm selection method in ART success.

 
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