New IVF method helps superior sperm ‘win’

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A new IVF method for selecting sperm can assist in improving embryo quality, lowering the rates of early miscarriage and ultimately increasing pregnancy success, according to an Australian study.

City Fertility Centre embryologist Elena Andaloro and co-author Susan Baohm announced the study at the annual conference of the European Society of Human Reproduction and Embryology (ESHRE) in Lisbon, Portugal, last week.

They said the study compared embryo success using traditional artificial liquid for sperm selection, polyvinylpyrrolidone (PVP), with a new natural liquid, hyaluronan (HA), or SpermSlow™.

“SpermSlow™ slows down the movement of the sperm in the petri dish to allow the embryologist to select the most mature, viable sperm with the best DNA integrity for the common IVF method, Intracytoplasmic Sperm Injection (ICSI),” Ms Andaloro said.

“In simple terms, during natural conception, only fully developed and mature sperm that reach the egg will bind and initiate fertilisation.

“In conventional IVF sperm selection for the ICSI method, where the sperm is injected into the egg, the sperm has been placed in the PVP liquid, which has resulted in sperm being selected regardless of maturity or DNA integrity. However, with SpermSlow™, immature sperm are separated, allowing for only mature and more successful sperm to be selected and used.”

Ms Andaloro said immature sperm had been found to have a higher chance of DNA damage and of carrying an abnormal number of chromosomes.

Australian scientists from City Fertility Centre at the ESHRE 2015 conference presented their findings of the study, which confirmed changing the liquid that sperm are placed in before being selected can increase the chance of superior examples being used.

The study compared the success of more than 2600 female eggs (oocytes) injected by sperm that had been selected using the traditional PVP liquid with 3000 female eggs injected by sperm that had been chosen using the new SpermSlow™.

The results of the study reported a clinical pregnancy rate of 30.2 per cent using SpermSlow™ compared with 20.2 per cent using PVP.

“Statistically, this means a 50 per cent greater chance of pregnancy success for patients who use SpermSlow™ for the IVF ICSI method,” Ms Andaloro said.

City Fertility Centre chief executive officer and scientific director Adnan Catakovic said the results of the study were encouraging.

“This new technique has the potential to help patients struggling with infertility issues to achieve a pregnancy faster, which is what we are constantly striving for,” Mr Catakovic said.

City Fertility Centre is utilising SpermSlow™ for clinically relevant patients at no additional cost.

 

Image courtesy of Shutterstock.com

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