Sperm washing is a form of sperm preparation that is required prior to intrauterine insemination because it removes chemicals from the semen, which may cause adverse reactions in the uterus. During the sperm washing process, sperm is separated from the seminal fluid. This procedure enhances the fertilizing capacity of the sperm by separating and concentrating healthy, motile sperm from abnormal and non-motile sperm. Although sperm washing cannot remove all abnormal or non-motile sperm, it is very helpful in increasing motility and providing a final sample of satisfactory volume for an IUI. To learn more about the different sperm washing techniques provided at The Fertility Center of California, click the options below:
This technique uses dilution and centrifugation to separate the seminal fluid from the desirable motile sperm. A sperm friendly solution is added to a raw ejaculated sample and gently centrifuged. The healthy sperm is generally concentrated at the bottom of the centrifugation tube and the undesirable sperm, seminal fluid and particulates are easily removed from the top of the sample. A basic wash is usually reserved for patients with lower motile sperm concentration and sperm progression.
This method uses density gradient centrifugation to isolate and purify the motile sperm. Different concentrations of isolate (extremely dense fluid) are layered in a test tube in an ascending order of density (heaviest layer at the bottom). The raw ejaculated semen is placed on top of the layered media, spread across several sterile tubes. The prepared tubes are then gently centrifuged. The healthy sperm is generally concentrated at the bottom of the centrifugation tube and the undesirable sperm, seminal fluid and particulates are easily removed from the top of the sample. The layers of media aid in capturing the highest amounts of undesirable contents found in seminal fluid. It is the preferred way to wash and prepare a semen sample for an intrauterine insemination (IUI) when motile sperm concentration and sperm progression are satisfactory.
This type of sperm wash requires a laboratory order from a physician. It involves a complex, swim down gradient technique. The process isolates X-bearing and Y-bearing motile sperm in different layers of density gradient media. When performed in a specific pattern, over a specific time frame and using several different gradients of sperm friendly fluid, the final sample will have higher amounts of the desired chromosome bearing sperm for the patient. To learn more about gender sorting, please click here.
This wash technique requires a laboratory order from a physician. The Zymot sperm wash uses a disposable device to help separate healthy sperm from unhealthy sperm. Its goal is to provide a purified sample with sperm possessing the highest progression and minimal DNA fragmentation to assist patients with severe male factor infertility.