Men conceived through IVF have about half the total sperm concentration and a twofold reduction in sperm count compared to traditionally conceived men, study shows

Study co-author Prof. André Van Steirteghemat and colleagues from the Centre for Reproductive Medicine at the Vrije Universiteit Brussel (VUB) in Belgium – publish their findings in the journal Human Reproduction.

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Intracytoplasmic sperm injection (ICSI) is a type of assisted reproductive technology. Forming a part of in vitro fertilization (IVF), It involves collecting sperm from the father and injecting it directly into the inner part of the mother’s egg, in order to induce normal fertilization. The fertilized egg is then placed in the mother’s womb.

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ICSI is mainly used to treat male infertility – that’s, guys that have abnormal sperm function or a low sperm count. The technique enables physicians to choose the finest quality sperm, and the likelihood of fertilization increase.

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The technique was initiated more than 20 years ago by Prof. Van Steirteghemat and team. On January 14, 1992, the first infant was born through ICSI.

Since many instances of male infertility are due to genetic defects, Prof. Van Steirteghemat and co-workers constantly supposed that guys thought through ICSI might inherit such defects from their dads.

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Now, conjecture may have moved nearer to fact, after an evaluation of 54 guys produced through ICSI between 1992-1996 – a time when the process was only used for male infertility – indicates an association between quality and inferior sperm amount and the process.

Decrease in sperm count, concentration for ICSI-thought guys

The 54 guys contained in the study – aged 18-22 – were identified through the UZ Brussel hospital database, and they were fit with a group of management guys who’d been considered naturally.

Of the guys who were conceived through ICSI, 50 of them had fathers who’d male factor infertility (two instances of combined male and female infertility, 48 cases of male infertility only). For parents of the remaining four guys, the reason behind their infertility was not known.

All guys were requested to supply semen samples, which were evaluated for quality and sperm amount. Blood samples were also collected for evaluation, and other health checks were conducted.

The investigation shown that guys thought through ICSI had nearly half the entire sperm concentration as guys thought naturally, and they showed a twofold decrease in total sperm count (semen volume multiplied by semen concentration) and total motile sperm count (the variety of sperm that can reach the egg).

Also, guys thought through ICSI were discovered to be likely to have a complete sperm count below 39 million per milliliter and likely to have a sperm concentration below 15 million per milliliter.

For reference, the World Health Organization (WHO) consider the usual sperm concentration to be 15 million per milliliter or higher.

The team’s findings stayed even after accounting for several variables which may have affected semen quality, including age, body mass index (BMI), and genital malformations.

Findings indicate ‘a measure of sub-fertility was passed on’
Overall, Prof. Van Steirteghemat and co-workers say their results indicate guys conceived through ICSI may have poorer sperm quality and amount, increasing their odds of fertility issues.