Evaluation and assessment of semen for IVF/ICSI.Asian J Androl 2002; 4(4):281-5AJ
Evaluation and assessment of semen is very important for both diagnosis of male infertility and selection of patients for treatment with IVF or ICSI. In standard IVF, sperm function is essential for normal fertilization: sperm must be able to bind to zona pellucida (ZP), undergo the acrosome reaction and penetrate the ZP and fuse with the oolemma before fertilization takes place. In contrast, most sperm functions are not required for fertilization in ICSI since sperm bypass the ZP and oolemma by injection of a single sperm directly into cytoplasm of oocyte. Therefore, the clinical decision on treatment of patients with either IVF or ICSI is mostly dependent on results of sperm tests. However, conventional semen analyses do not provide accurate information about sperm fertilizing ability since many patients with subtle sperm defects can not be detected. More advanced sperm function tests are required to detect sperm defects that may lead to failure of fertilization in standard IVF. In the last 15 years we performed extensive studies on relationship between sperm functions and fertilization rates by logistic regression analysis in large numbers of IVF patients including 370 patients with zero fertilization rate by IVF. We confirmed sperm morphology assessed strictly was strongly related to fertilisation rate with standard IVF. Thus sperm morphology assessment is very useful for selection of patients for ICSI. We also developed a number of new tests including sperm-ZP binding, sperm-ZP penetration and the ZP-induced AR and evaluated the clinical value of these tests. Sperm-ZP binding and sperm-ZP penetration tests are the most powerful indicators for sperm fertilizing ability in vitro. The ZP-induced AR is highly correlated with sperm-ZP penetration. We discovered a condition we call disordered ZP-induced AR which causes serve infertility in up to 25% men with otherwise idiopathic infertility In conclusion, the combination of semen analysis with advanced sperm function tests provide important diagnostic and prognostic information for male infertility and is crucial for selection of patients for treatment with IVF or ICSI.