This pilot study was conducted to explore the benefits of using a centrifugation-free device based on the migration–sedimentation (MS) technique over centrifugation-based techniques in selecting competent spermatozoa, as compared with using split human semen samples. Ejaculates from 35 men undergoing semen analysis were split into four parts where one part was retained as the neat (NE) and the other three parts were subjected to sperm selection by using migration–sedimentation (MS), density gradient (DG) separation, and swim-up (SU) techniques. Sperm functional characteristics along with mitochondrial integrity, tyrosine phosphorylation, acrosome reaction, and ultrastructure were measured. The ability of selection techniques in reducing spontaneous and radiation-induced sperm DNA lesions was assessed by the TUNEL assay. In results, MS-selected spermatozoa had higher viability (P < 0.001), longevity in terms of total motility at the end of 6 and 18 h post-extraction (P < 0.001), and mitochondrial integrity (P < 0.001) compared with those selected by DG. Furthermore, spontaneous DNA lesions were significantly reduced in MS and SU fractions compared with NE (P < 0.001). Similarly, radiation-induced sperm DNA lesions were significantly lower in MS and SU fractions (P < 0.001) compared with DG. Ultrastructural analysis using scanning electron microscopy suggested a moderate, non-significant increase in the number of spermatozoa with normal head and mid-piece in MS fraction compared with other methods. In conclusion, the MS-based device offers a centrifugation-free, efficient, and reliable sperm selection method, making it suitable for partially equipped intra-uterine insemination (IUI) laboratories or office IUI programmes. Further research should focus on the safety and clinical usefulness of the device in assisted conception programmes in general and IUI in specific.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Obstetrics and Gynaecology