What do you mean by “Sperm Washing”?


Before you start with the process of Infertility treatment such as Intrauterine insemination (IUI) or In vitro fertilization (IVF), you should have good knowledge about the different steps involved in this process. Sperm washing is one of the step involved in infertility technique, so let’s collect some information regarding this method and why it is so important?

What is Sperm washing?

Sperm washing is a technique in which semen sample is prepared for Intrauterine insemination(IUI) or In vitro fertilization (IVF) process where individual’s sperms are separated from the seminal fluid containing debris and dead cells. This is a standard procedure used in infertility treatment.

Spermwashing was first used in Milan, Italy.

Why is Spermwashing carried out?

Foran IUI or IVF procedure, semen sample should be separated from debris, white blood cells and prostaglandins. This process also removes dead and less active sperm cells from those which are highly active and further could be used in IUI or IVF to obtain better success rate for conceiving. This process of separating active sperms from other unwanted debris and cell is known as sperm washing.

Sperm washing is also important to remove chemicals known as prostaglandins. These chemicals are responsible for causing cramps during menstruation and pregnancy.And hence if semen is injected directly containing prostaglandins they will induce severe pain and cramps in female uterus.

Sperms are also washed to separate cells based on their motility. Slow moving sperms and dead sperms are removed from those having high motility because highly motile species are believed to fertilize egg faster thus improving the chances of conceiving.

Sperm washing also get rid of the white blood cells, mucous and seminal fluid surrounding the sperm which can also interfere in the process of IUI or IVF.

When the process of Sperm washing used?

This process is mainly used for those couples who has difficulty in conceiving due to number of infertility problems such as:

Low sperm count (oligospermia)

Women who suffer with endometriosis

Men with anti sperm antibodies

Women having sperm allergy

Infertility issue in man

Unexplained infertility

Therefore it is one of the crucial step in the treatment of infertility problems which is carried out just before the treatment procedure of IUI and IVF

What are different techniques of sperm washing?

There are basically three types of methods involved in sperm washing.

Simple wash method

This type of method is basically used for semen sample having low concentration of sperm or those having low motility. This method include simple process of dilution and centrifugation.

Swim- up method

In this method sperm is allowed to swim in the media which helps to collect the most active, motile species separated from dead cells and debris.

Density gradient method

This method is based on process of density gradient centrifugation to isolate and purify motile sperm (having at least 90% motility) from non-motile species.

The success rate of infertility techniques increases when the technician uses the process of sperm washing correctly. Therefore it is one of the very crucial step when infertility techniques methods are concerned.



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