Sperm Prep for IVF Helps Make In Vitro Fertilization Cycles Successful
Some couples find that more-basic fertility treatments like timed intercourse and intrauterine insemination (IUI) are not enough to help them conceive. When this happens, in vitro fertilization (IVF) offers a ray of hope. This advanced form of assisted reproductive technology can help overcome a wide range of male and female fertility issues so that you can bring home a healthy baby.
Often, discussions about IVF focus on the role of the female patient who will provide the eggs for the cycle. As a result, many people are unaware of how important it is for the man to provide a semen sample and for the laboratory staff to perform sperm prep for IVF.
The IVF Process Involves Several Steps to Make Parenthood Possible
When pursuing in vitro fertilization, the first step involves prescribing injectable fertility medications for the female patient. She will come to her Ovation® partner physician’s office for regular monitoring during this time. Once her eggs are thought to be mature based on ultrasound monitoring and laboratory tests, she will take a final medication to induce oocyte maturation.
About 36 hours after this final shot, she will have an outpatient egg retrieval procedure. On this same day, the male patient will provide a semen sample. The embryologist will combine the eggs and sperm in the IVF laboratory to achieve fertilization to create embryos. However, before this process can occur, the sample must undergo sperm prep for IVF.
Sperm Prep for IVF Helps Promote a Successful Treatment Cycle
Before sperm can fertilize an egg as part of an IVF cycle, the laboratory team must prepare the sample. This process starts with a semen analysis. This test will let the embryologist know the sperm count of the sample. It will also reveal the percentage of moving (motile) sperm and the percentage of normally shaped sperm. These results help the embryologist determine which procedures to use to isolate the best population of sperm.
Next, the laboratory team member places the semen on a column in a centrifuge tube so that they can process the sample. This procedure isolates a small number of sperm with a much-improved percentage of motility and normal shape (morphology). After processing, the team washes and resuspends this population of sperm using a solution that mimics the fluid in a woman’s fallopian tubes where fertilization occurs.
Finally, before placing the sperm with the eggs, laboratory staff count the sperm again to calculate the concentration of sperm necessary to improve the chance of fertilization. An embryologist uses this information when fertilizing the eggs.
If you have more questions about conceiving with help from IVF, please contact an Ovation partner physician today.