Infertility usually tackles and involves more in the female factor than the males and therefore more studies were done to assess how female factor problems should be addressed. However, it is also important to understand the male factor even though technologies such as Intracytoplasmic Sperm Injection (ICSI) and Testicular Sperm Extraction (TESE) are present to overcome limitations in sperm count and quality. It is also imperative for IVF clinics to have optimized protocols and top-notch equipment like centrifuges for sperm preparation procedures. The Reproductive Health Group (RGH) together with Arie Parnham (Consultant Urologist for the Reproductive Health Group) and Ian Stones (Acupuncturist) held a webinar discussing Male Fertility last July 23.

In general, men are advised to get checked with their partner when they have had regular sexual intercourse in 1 year and still failed to get pregnant. This is the time when partners go to infertility clinics for their check-ups and identify the factors that resulted in infertility. Male infertility is usually correlated with hormone levels, hot work environment as well as working with harmful chemicals. It is also found that bad habits like smoking and excessive alcohol drinking lower sperm count, motility, and quality. During sperm preparation, these abnormal and non-motile sperm cells are filtered from the ones of good quality via density gradient centrifugation. Isolated sperm of good quality are then used for IUI/conventional IVF/ICSI.

One particular topic that Mr. Parnham discussed was about varicoceles which are a common cause of low sperm production and decreased sperm quality. These are identified as enlargement of the veins of the skin of the testes, similar to those varicose veins that can be found in the legs. According to Mr. Parnham, these varicoceles can theoretically affect the heat exchange mechanism in the testes which correlates to sperm count as well as DNA fragmentation. He also mentioned that sometimes if you repair these varicoceles, an improvement in sperm count and other parameters can be observed.

As one of the leading manufacturers of IVF equipment and provider of innovative solutions, Esco Medical has introduced the addition of the Versati™ Tabletop Centrifuge to its line of equipment. Having a broad temperature control range, it is very flexible to varying sperm preparation protocols applicable both for human and animal IVF applications. Check out Versati™ Tabletop Centrifuge  and other additions to our line of equipment at the Esco Medical website for more details.