A typical semen analysis test looks into macroscopic (sperm volume, liquefaction, viscosity) and microscopic (sperm number, motility, vitality, morphology, maturation, coagulations, cell types) parameters .A normal semen analysis usually indicates that the function of the testis and the hormonal background is normal.
Fragmentation of sperm DNA indicates that there is a contributing male factor to a couples infertility. Spermatozoa with fragmented DNA are typically not capable of normal fertilization, and even if this occurs, there is a high risk that the resulting embryos will have reduced or pathological potential for growth, implantation and further development in to a healthy embryos. This can be manifested as implantation failures or early miscarriages.
This test investigates the integrity of sperm DNA revealing the percentage of DNA damage.
About 5-25% of men whose sperm parameters (count, motility and morphology) are within the normal range have difficulty fathering a child. We are constantly looking for tests to help us identify and start to treat this hidden, ‘unexplained’ male infertility.
A balanced level of Reactive oxygen species (ROS) in semen is needed for fertilization of the egg but excess ROS are a major cause of cellular damage. Oxidative stress resulting from excessive production of ROS can have a profound effect on the sperm plasma membrane, loss of sperm motility and vitality, as well as increasing DNA strand breaks, damaging embryo development and giving lower IVF pregnancy rates. They also correlate with increased time to natural conception and recurrent miscarriages. Lifestyle factors eg diets high in sugars and processed foods, smoking, hot baths, sedentary lifestyle may influence excess ROS.
We use the Oxisperm Kit (HALOTECH DNA) to qualitatively determine a possible excess of ROS present in a semen sample so as to identify men who might benefit from antioxidant supplements (and those who should avoid them).
This involves a novel research procedure of evaluating mitochondrial activity. Mitochondrial efficiency indicates sperm functionality as correlated with sperm motility and capacity of fertilization.
Mitotracker Mitochondrial Selective Probes
Fluorescence microscopy can be used to optimize visualization of nuclear DNA in spermatozoa. This may be required as spermatozoa’s chromatin is normally, highly coiled and hence difficult to visualize sometimes with traditional microscopy.
Α research procedure that investigates the capability of spermatozoa’s membrane to fuse with the plasma membrane of the oocyte.
This involves a procedure which separates the spermatozoa from the seminal plasma for both diagnostic and therapeutic purposes. The most suitable technique according to the characteristics of the sperm is chosen, in order to collect a high percentage of morphologically normal and motile cells, free from debris, non-germ cells and dead spermatozoa. After the selection is completed, the appropriate ART (assisted reproductive technique) is used.
A test which investigates the presence of antibodies in the seminal plasma that bind with antigens on the spermatozoa. These antibodies are considered as an immunological infertility factor.
By selecting the most appropriate freezing procedure that includes the use of “Glycerol Egg Yolk Citrate” as a cryo-protectant intracellular ice crystal formation is minimized. As a result, the survival percentage of spermatozoa after thawing is optimized.
For a multitude of reasons such as severe oligoospermia, azoospermia , history of vasectomy etc its often impossible to obtain a sperm sample for fertilization processes. In these cases surgical extraction of sperm is often the best option.
The extraction of the sperm can be accomplished, under general anesthesia, by needle aspiration or by surgical means from the epididymis or directly from the testicular tissue. The sperm found can then be used for ICSI and/or cryopreserved for future use.