Innovative Approach to Sperm Selection for IVF and Vaccination Treatment, Sperm Microchip

In approximately 40% of infertile couples, the main cause of infertility is male-related problems. The number, motility and structural (morphological) deficiencies in sperm produced in men or the lack of sperm production are the main problems that cause male infertility.

Rapid progress has been made in the treatment of male infertility with the first application of the revolutionary microinjection method (ICSI/IMSI) in IVF. This process is based on the principle of selecting the sperm with the best morphological characteristics and mobility among millions of sperm, and then injecting them into the egg cell one by one by means of microinjection systems. It is known that selecting the best sperm and performing the microinjection procedure increases the success of pregnancy.

Sperm to be used in ICSI/IMSI, IVF and inoculation (IUI) procedures are prepared using classical sperm preparation procedures with gradient methods in which centrifugation (precipitation with high-speed rotation) based swim-up or gradient method based on gradient difference are used. The aim of sperm preparation methods is to separate motile and better quality sperm cells in the seminal plasma from immobile, dead and low quality sperm. Both methods have been used in IVF laboratories for years, and millions of IVF babies were born using sperm cells prepared using these techniques.

Sperm samples prepared with the aforementioned methods are subjected to centrifugation for a certain period of time, and some studies reveal that the centrifugation method may fail to separate the best sperm, especially in sperm samples with low sperm count, low sperm motility and high DNA damage, and at the same time the sperm DNA may even be damaged.

For this reason, today, it is aimed to separate sperms that are structurally normal, have completed their maturation, have high mobility and do not contain DNA/genetic damage, and use them in IVF treatments by using the most natural separation method.

This opportunity is provided to us by the method known as Sperm Microchip, in which sperm are separated using the microfluidic feature of the sperm.

In order to separate the sperms in the sperm microchip technology, the sperm fluid is injected into a channel with a width of less than half a millimeter inside this chip, and the separation of healthy sperms from the dead or damaged ones are provided as they swim to the exit from the channel in the chip. Scientists demonstrate that with this method, it is much easier to separate healthy sperm from millions of unhealthy sperm without the need for a process such as centrifugation.

In summary, sperm separation methods based on microfluidic technologies are used to obtain healthy sperm required for use in IVF treatment. In these systems, the separation of sperms which are genetically healthier and less exposed to free oxygen radicals in the liquified semen sample without the need for any pre-processing step, and to increase the success rate of IVF treatments by using these sperms in treatments such as IVF (In Vitro Fertilization) and ICSI (Intro Cytoplasmic Sperm Injection), and IUI (vaccination).

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