The Development of a Simplified Swim-up Method for Sperm Processing

  • Moungala Lionel Wildy Androcryos Andrology Laboratory, Parktown, Johannesburg, South Africa
  • Laura Boyd Department of Obstetrics and Gynaecology, University of Pretoria, Steve Biko Academic Hospital, Pretoria, South Africa
  • Jozef Fourie Panorama Fertility Laboratory, Mediclinic Panorama, Cape Town, South Africa
  • Opheelia Makoyo Department of Obstetrics and Gynaecology, Mere-Enfant Hospital, Libreville, Gabon
  • Carin Huyser Department of Obstetrics and Gynaecology, University of Pretoria, Steve Biko Academic Hospital, Pretoria, South Africa
Keywords: Developing countries, Infertility, Artificial insemination, Reproduction, Spermatozoa, Swim-up, Syringes


Established sperm preparation techniques have been under the spotlight in support of the affordable assisted reproduction drive. Affordability and safety are particularly relevant in developing countries, with restricted access to basic infertility care due to limited resources. This study investigated a modified sperm swim-up method in comparison to a commercial sperm preparation kit. Spermatozoa were processed using three different volume disposable syringes: 5 ml (SW-5), 10 ml (SW-10), and 20 ml (SW-20), with respect to concentration and motility. Hereafter, the syringe method that resulted in the highest sperm yield was matched against a commercially available device (SEP-D kit) for the evaluation of sperm motility, concentration, vitality, morphology, and deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA) fragmentation. Semen processed using the SW-10 method resulted in a higher total motile sperm count (6.62 x106), in comparison to the SW-5 and SW-20 methods. When compared to the commercial device, spermatozoa harvested with the SW-10 method presented with significantly improved total motility (75.35% vs 87.05%) and concentration (14.35 x106/ml vs 17.10 x106/ml, p<0.0001). Furthermore, there was a significant increase in spermatozoa viability after processing using the SW-10 (79.47% vs 70.05 for the hypo-osmotic swelling test, 82.31% vs 72.00% for eosin and nigrosin test, p<0.001), and fewer spermatozoa with DNA damage (13.70% vs 23.20%, p<0.0001). This modified swim-up method can therefore be integrated into a cost-effective intrauterine insemination treatment for selected patients in a low-resource setting.


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How to Cite
Lionel Wildy, M., Boyd, L., Fourie, J., Makoyo, O., & Huyser, C. (2022). The Development of a Simplified Swim-up Method for Sperm Processing. Journal of Infertility and Reproductive Biology, 9(4), 160-167.
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