The Andrology Blog

The Science & Medicine of Male Reproduction

Archive for andrology

The result of intracytoplasmic sperm injection is not related to any of the three basic sperm parameters

From the authors below and published in the journal Human Reproduction.

Z.P. Nagy1,2, J. Liu1, H. Joris1, G. Verheyen1, H. Tournaye1, M. Camus1, M.-P. Derde3, P. Devroey1 and A.C. Van Steirteghem1

High success rates have been reported for the use of intracytoplasmic sperm injection (ICSI) in alleviating essentially andrological infertility. However, neither the relationship between any of the sperm parameters and the result of ICSI nor the minimal sperm requirements for ICSI have been investigated so far. In this paper, our objective was therefore to study the relationship between three basic sperm parameters (total sperm count, sperm motility and morphology) and the outcome of ICSI by retrospective analyses of fertilization, embryo development and pregnancy rates in 966 micro-injection cycles, performed with ejaculated semen. The results showed that there was no important influence from either the type or the extent of sperm impairment on the outcome of ICSI. Even in the most extreme cases of male-factor infertility, where cryptozoospermia or total astheno- or total teratozoospermia was diagnosed in the initial semen sample, high fertilization and pregnancy rates were obtained by ICSI. Only one condition had a strongly negative influence on the result of ICSI: where an immotile (presumably dead) spermatozoon was injected into the oocyte. Thus the only ultimate criterion for successful ICSI is the presence of at least one living spermatozoon per oocyte in the pellet of the treated semen sample used for micro-injection.


Hypoosmotic Swelling (HOS) Assay

Hypoosmotic Swelling (HOS) Assay

Sperm with a physically intact and functionally active membrane will respond to changes in osmolality. This property of the sperm is utilized in the HOS assay which has been shown to correlate highly with the ability of sperm to fertilize intact human oocytes in vitro. It also appears to predict in vitro fertilizing capacity of spermatozoa more reliably than the standard sperm parameters.

Dr S

Healthy sperm post-vasectomy

This always seems to come up in discussions with patients and embryologists with whom I work:

  • After a vasectomy, where can the healthiest sperm be found?

The answer is the testicle.  Sperm located in the epididymis after a vasectomy is often damaged and non-functional.  A normal epididymis has many functions that include sperm maturation, transport, and development.  After a vasectomy, this critical epididymal functions get disrupted. The testicle, on the other hand, continues to produce healthy sperm as if nothing ever happened.  This testicular sperm can be used for ICSI.

After a vasectomy, testicular sperm can be retrieved with a simple, painless, in-office procedure.

Dr S

This is a microscopic image of a testicular biopsy specimen

This is a microscopic image of a testicular biopsy specimen

What is the essence of a male?

All males of all species have the same biological feature in common. This feature is truly what makes a male a male. Here it is:

Males make small sized gametes.

Gametes are reproductive cells, like sperm or egg. In all species of life from the human to the toad to the sunflower, females have large sex cells and males have small ones.

Andrology in the blog-o-sphere

Dr Richard Schoor MD, urologist and blogger from Smithtown NY, just started a new blog on andrology.  What is andrology?  It is the study of male reproduction.

Why the blog? Because no one other than andrologists know what andrology is.

We are going to change that.