Doctor who provides sperm washing service in Dallas, TX answers, “What is sperm washing?”
Think of sperm washing as “survival of the fittest.” Sperm washing service in the Dallas TX area isolates healthy, active sperm cells. This process is necessary for Intrauterine Insemination (IUI). It can also increase the odds of successful In Vitro Fertilization (IVF) treatment.
Directed by a nationally-recognized male infertility expert, NTMIC Sperm Lab distinguishes from other laboratories with its depth of specialized knowledge and accurate diagnostics. Effective treatment is built on a thorough understanding of the factors that have contributed to infertility, so conversations about What Sperm Washing is may start with tests to find out more about why you and your partner are having difficulty getting pregnant.
Why sperm washing may be recommended
It’s estimated up to 15 percent of couples are infertile. In up to half of those cases, male infertility plays a role. Low sperm counts, abnormal sperm function, or blockages interfere with fertilization. Illnesses, injuries, chronic health problems, lifestyle, and environmental factors like emotional stress and chemical exposures may be implicated. Sometimes immunologic factors are at play. Sperm can’t swim to the fallopian tube and enter an egg when immune system cells mistakenly identify a man’s sperm as harmful invaders.
Typical semen analyses identify factors, including the total number and concentration of sperm, the percentage of live sperm, and their movement. Another factor, morphology, refers to sperm size and shape. Unlike many other laboratories, NTMIC Sperm Lab assesses morphology on samples used for insemination before and after sperm washing. When morphology improves after processing, fertility rate also improves.
Sperm morphology is reported as a percentage of 200 or more sperm with “normal form” (NF) when sample segment is viewed under the microscope. Some requirements for NF include:
- A smooth, oval-shaped head
- Uncoiled tail
- A mid-piece as long as the head, but thinner than both the head and tail
- Lack of defects like a crooked head or a twinned tail
- Adequate acrosome covering on the head (to penetrate the egg’s membrane)
It’s not uncommon to have a larger percentage of “abnormal” sperm and still carry the healthy genetic material to produce offspring. These mutations don’t always affect function. Likewise, these abnormalities may result in the sperm not moving at a speed or in a way that allows it to reach and puncture an egg’s membrane. A high morphology percentage generally means sperm can successfully penetrate the egg without assistance. A typical healthy range is between 4 to 14 percent NF. Any score below 4 percent means it takes longer for you and your partner to get pregnant. Director Dr. Jeffrey Buch may also discuss ruling out other health conditions and potential complications among those men with a score below the healthy range.
Sperm washing is also a must for IUI. Raw semen can’t be inserted directly into a woman’s uterus, because it contains prostaglandins chemicals responsible for menstruation and pregnancy cramps. When inserted into the uterus rather than the cervix, it can cause very painful cramping and serious complications such as uterine collapse.
To help ensure accurate results, the NTMIC Sperm Lab may advise the following steps before sperm washing:
- Collect the sample at our associated onsite clinic if you live more than an hour away.
- Refrain from using lubricants when collecting the sample.
- Discuss antibiotics use, as these and other medications can affect sperm quality.
- Use only sterile containers provided by your doctor.
- Practice abstinence for two to five days (no longer) before sperm donation.
Sperm washing isn’t a single method. NTMIC Sperm Lab uses the density gradient technique. The sperm donation is spun in a rapidly-rotating centrifuge, which separates quality, aerodynamic, and fast sperm from unhealthy, dead, or immobile sperm. It also separates these sperm from semen, cellular contaminants and other debris. The result is a high concentration of the “best” sperm. Those substances and sperm that aren’t beneficial are siphoned off, and the quality sperm are “washed” or processed yet again for a super-concentrated, active sample. The processed sperm are placed in a liquid that simulates the fluid in the fallopian tubes where fertilization usually occurs. The washed sample is then ready for use in IUI or IVF treatment.
Sperm washing ensures only the healthiest and most vibrant sperm are used for fertility treatments, so there is an increased chance you and your partner will become pregnant. There are no guarantees with any treatment. Many factors must be considered including overall sperm count. Questions? Call (972) 616-4477 to speak with a nationally-recognized authority in male infertility.