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