School of Medical and Health Sciences
To compare two suites of culture media (one with HSA and one protein-free (PF) supplemented with methylcellulose) for washing human sperm in IVF.
Semen samples (n = 41) underwent parallel density gradient preparation using PF or HSA-supplemented culture medium and subsequent yield, survival, morphology and motility were compared.
The PF medium resulted in a significantly higher sperm yield (P < 0.0001), but similar sperm morphology (P = 0.822) and 24-h survival (P = 0.11). There was, however, a lower percentage of progressively motile sperm (P < 0.0001) and a higher proportion of sperm demonstrating non-progressive motility (P < 0.0001) in the PF medium when observed on a Makler Chamber, apparently an artefact as a similar sperm motility index was measured using a Sperm Quality Analyser (P = 0.83). Attachment of sperm in PF medium to the glass chamber reduced with time and any differences had disappeared after 6 min on the counting chamber.
These results support the use of PF media supplemented with methylcellulose as an alternative to HSA, although a modification to the manufacturer's protocol of 6-min pre-incubation before assessing sperm motility must be used. Further studies should investigate the function of such sperm prepared in PF medium.
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