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Does Sperm Washing Select the Highest Quality Sperm?


Reproduction is a normal and natural process for most male human beings; nevertheless, some males have trouble in making of a baby. Male infertility can be defined as any health problem in a male that affects his abilities to reproduce (Buck et al, 2015). The quality and quantity of sperms normally determines the reproduction ability of a man. When then sperms released by a male is of low quality and small in number then his reproduction ability is difficult or sometimes not possible. A man is termed infertile after a couple experiences conceiving difficulties and after testing both the male and the female, reproductions issues are found in the male partner. Male reproduction difficulties are extensive problems with approximately 1 out of 5 couples with reproduction problems lying on the male. Most studies have predicted that about one in 20 males have a reproduction issue, nevertheless only 1 in 100 males releases no sperms during ejaculation (Clarckson & Aitken, 2011).

Usually male infertility has no clear symptoms. Normal processes of sex occur without difficulties, these processes include sexual intercourse, ejection, and forcible ejection of semen. In most cases, the quantity of sperm is low however, the quantity and look of the ejected semen appear usual to the eye of a human being. Therefore, medical diagnosis is required to establish reproduction difficulties in a man (Jeulin, Serres, & Jouannet, 1982).

Generally, male infertility is caused by difficulties that influence either sperm production or sperm transport. Through medical diagnosis, a medical practitioner is able to establish the cause of this health issue. One of the major causes of this health issue is in the making semen in the testes.  The problem arises when there is low production of sperms or the sperms made are of low quality (Zeng et al, 2014).

Semen transportation problem occur due to obstructions in the male tubes making the transportation of sperms from the testes to the penis impossible, this causes lack of sperms in erected semen (Vested et al, 2013). In addition other causes of male infertility include when the levels of hormones in the pituitary gland is low, sexual related problems where the ability of semen to be transported in the woman vagina to fertilize the ovum, and low fertility due to sperm antibodies. When a couple has reproduction problems, both partners should go for medical testing. When conducting the medical testing the medical history from the man, a semen analysis, and physical examination should be considered. The semen analysis is vital in the checking of shape, quantity, and transportation of sperm. Additionally blood tests may be done. This is used to determine hormonal levels that control the sperm production (Gledhill, 1988). Testicular biopsies and genetic investigation are also done.

In most case, men with reproduction difficulties are treated and eventually some of them are able to fertilize. Medical practitioners use assisted reproductive technologies. These technologies do not treat or cure the causes of infertility but can assist a couple conceive despite the male having low quantity of sperms. An example of the assist reproductive technologies includes in vitro fertilization (IVF). Intracytoplasmic sperm injection (ICSI) is a type of the IVF, in this form of treatment the sperm is positioned directly into each ovum by piercing the outer casing of the ovum (Juhler et al, 1999).

In the IVF techniques, many semen preparation methods have been developed including swim up and density gradient techniques. The density gradient method selects the greater quantity of motile spermatozoa. This method is mostly applicable in cases of harsh asthenozoospermia, oligozoospermia, or teratozoospermia. The method separates high quality sperms from other constituents of seminal plasma, leukocytes, and dead sperms by a density continuous gradient. Colloidal silica coated with siilane of the gradient separates sperms with different density and motility. The bottom of the tube contains sperms of good morphology and high motility. A two-layer density gradient is used where the top layer comprises of low quality sperm of 40% (v/v) and a lower layer of high quality sperms of 80% (v/v). The validation of the gradient density centrifugation depends can be determined through comparing the sperm in the 80% pellet and sperm ejaculated. The validation of the sperms in the 40-80% pellet is incomplete but magnetic resonance spectroscopy work suggests higher cytoplasmic content in these sperms compared to those in the 80% pellet (Le, 2012).        

Sperm analysis evaluates the quantity semen and the quality of the sperm a man releases. In case of fertilization in a man, sperm analysis is among the first tests that a man undergoes. The test determines different sperm parameters including sperm volume, liquefaction time, count, morphology, motility, PH, white blood cell count, and fructose level. In the fifth edition of World Health Organization, different semen analysis parameters are outlined with their normal levels and values. These parameters include sperm volume that should be 1.5 millilitre or more. The sperm PH should be greater or equal to 7.2. The semen concentration ought to be 15,000,000 per millilitre or more. The total motility ought to be 50% or more and progressive motility 32% or more. Morphology of the semen needs to be 4% or more normal forms. The vitality requires a 58 % or more in usual circumstances. Additionally less than 1,000,000 per millilitre white blood cell are the normal values for a fertile man (Pant, 2013).

 According to World Health Organization, motility has a value of 50% and the test must be conducted within 60 minutes of collection. The World Health organization has defined several abnormalities including asthenozoospermia where is the problem of having poor sperm motility. Aspermia is the lack of semen while azoospermia is lack of sperm in a male. Hyperspermia is the situation of having a high quantity of semen while hypospermia is low quantity of semen. Necrozoospermia is a health issue where the sperms released are dead.  Tetratozoospermia is a condition where the sperms of the male carry more morphological defects than normal. Oligoospermia is a male infertility issue where the male experiences low sperm count. In addition, another sperm abnormality includes leucospermia where the levels of white blood cells in sperms are high (Vested et al, 2013).

 The method by which magnetic characteristics of atomic nuclei is determined is known as Nuclear magnetic resonance also known as NMR spectroscopy. The atomic nuclei is placed in a magnetic field, it absorbs and emits electromagnetic radiation. The radiation released is at a certain resonance frequency, which is determined by the strength of the magnetic field and the characteristics of the nuclei. Through nuclear magnetic resonance, many scientific topics are studied including non-crystalline, crystals, and molecular physics. The technique is also applied in advanced medical imagining methods for instance in magnetic resonance imaging (Sun, 200).

AIMS and hypothesis

Overall aims:

  • Investigate why we see more metabolites in poor sperm than good sperm
  • Examine how much seminal fluid contamination is in the two fractions using pro-Insert tubes versus Normal falcon tubes.



There are indications of seminal fluid contamination in poor sperm but not in good sperm.

  • Compare characteristic between 80% (good sperm) and 40-80% interface (poor sperm) looking specifically on motility, morphology, ATP production and vitality.


Good sperm have a higher mean sperm speed, motility that is more progressive, more normal sperm morphology, a higher ATP production and few DNA fragmentations more than poor sperm.

  • To compare the above parameters between normozoospermic samples to asthenozospermic samples


80% pallet and 40-80% interface of normozoospermic samples will have measurements associated with high quality sperm than the comparative asthenozoospermic fraction



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