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The relationship between sperm head retardance using polarized light microscopy and clinical outcomes

  • Belinda G. Vermey
    Correspondence
    Corresponding author.
    Affiliations
    IVF Australia, 1/225 Maroubra Road, Maroubra, Sydney, NSW 2035, Australia

    School of Women's and Children's Health, University of New South Wales, High Street, Kensington, Sydney, NSW 2052, Australia
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  • Michael G. Chapman
    Affiliations
    IVF Australia, 1/225 Maroubra Road, Maroubra, Sydney, NSW 2035, Australia

    School of Women's and Children's Health, University of New South Wales, High Street, Kensington, Sydney, NSW 2052, Australia
    Search for articles by this author
  • Simon Cooke
    Affiliations
    IVF Australia, 1/225 Maroubra Road, Maroubra, Sydney, NSW 2035, Australia

    School of Women's and Children's Health, University of New South Wales, High Street, Kensington, Sydney, NSW 2052, Australia
    Search for articles by this author
  • Suha Kilani
    Affiliations
    IVF Australia, 1/225 Maroubra Road, Maroubra, Sydney, NSW 2035, Australia

    School of Women's and Children's Health, University of New South Wales, High Street, Kensington, Sydney, NSW 2052, Australia
    Search for articles by this author
Published:September 30, 2014DOI:https://doi.org/10.1016/j.rbmo.2014.09.011

      Highlights

      • First study quantifying sperm retardance in relation to clinical outcome.
      • Sperm with lower head retardance associated with clinical pregnancy rates.
      • Sperm with lower head retardance increases utilization of embryos.
      • Sperm with lower head retardance increases embryo quality on day 3.
      • Optimal sperm head retardance appears to be between 0.56 nm −0.91 nm.

      Abstract

      In human sperm head, birefringence can be seen under polarized light resulting from highly ordered structures within the acrosome and nucleus. Selecting sperm with partial head birefringence improves success of clinical pregnancies in patients with severe male factor infertility. The aim of this study was to establish a range of retardance in sperm heads using polarized light microscopy to select an optimum sperm for intracytoplasmic sperm injection (ICSI). Sperm heads of 63 couples undergoing ICSI in women aged 38 years or younger were imaged at the time of ICSI and later analysed for retardance blinded to embryo and cycle outcomes. Sperm head retardance was similar irrespective of whether fertilization occurred. Quality of embryos on day 3 and day 5 were higher when sperm were selected with head retardance ranging from 0.56 nm or greater to 0.91 nm or less. Selection of sperm with head retardance ranging from 0.56 nm or greater to 0.91 nm or less was associated with higher clinical pregnancy rates (OR 3.74 95% CI 1.43 to 9.77). Optimum sperm for selection at the time of ICSI was with head retardance within the range 0.56 nm or greater to 0.91 nm or less.

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      Biography

      Belinda Vermey graduated in 2004 with a Bachelor of Science, majoring in biology from Macquarie University, Sydney, Australia. She began her training as a scientist within the IVF endrocrinology and andrology departments, moving into embryology in 2005. She has worked as an embryologist at IVF Australia, Sydney, since 2007. Belinda completed her Masters degree in reproductive medicine from the University of NSW in 2013, specializing in polarized light microscopy on human spermatozoa. She was awarded a prize for the best poster presentation at the Fertility Society of Australia conference in 2011.