Sperm Preparation and Fertilization

Sperm Preparation and Fertilization for Successful Cycles

Sperm is usually provided the morning of the egg retrieval. Occasionally the sperm is collected ahead of time and frozen for use after the egg retrieval. We can obtain sperm from the male partner through normal ejaculation or through more advanced sperm retrieval procedures such as microepididymal sperm aspiration (MESA), or testicular sperm extraction (TESE).

If your partner will be providing a semen specimen on the day of the egg retrieval, we recommend abstaining from intercourse for at least two days prior to the IVF procedure but not more than 6 days. This will help to obtain optimal sperm quality for the IVF procedure. Donor sperm may also be used; it will be thawed and prepared by the laboratory staff the morning of the retrieval.

If your partner has a normal sperm sample, the lab will add the sample to the eggs within five hours of egg retrieval. If the sperm quality is abnormal, then the embryologist may elect to use a procedure called intracytoplasmic sperm injection (ICSI) to ensure that fertilization takes place.

Sperm Prep and IVF Insemination

After the lab receives the semen, the andrologist will first rinse the sample with a special solution that removes dead sperm and cellular debris while also protecting the living sperm. The andrologist then takes one ml of the sperm solution and removes extra fluid by centrifuging, spinning the sperm cells through a special medium to bring the concentration up to 30,000 motile sperm per ml. This concentrated sperm solution is then used to inseminate the eggs by adding a very small quantity of the sperm to each drop of culture medium containing the eggs.