A new method for treating sperm in preparation for In-Vitro Fertilization (IVF), tested in Shaare Zedek’s IVF Department, could increase the chances of success for couples undergoing fertility treatment, especially those who experience repeated failures during the treatment, a situation defined as “unexplained infertility.”
Out of 10 treatments in which fetuses fertilized from sperm cells tested using the new method, five ended in clinical pregnancy. According to Prof. Hananel Holzer, Head of the Fertility and IVF Department at Shaare Zedek: “The initial results are encouraging and could indicate the method’s efficiency. As we speak, we’re testing more cases so we can make more extensive conclusions.”
Much research is being conducted all over the world to try and find the causes of infertility and the inability to become pregnant. Since both males and females have variable levels of fertility, it can be the male sperm which is the significant factor in many cases of infertility.
According to Dr. Oshrat Schumberger, Head of the IVF Laboratory, “Recent studies show that a high fragility percentage in the DNA of sperm cells is connected to infertility and maybe even to repeated treatment failures. In the IVF Department at Shaare Zedek we conduct a special lab process called MACS (Magnetic-Activated Cell Sorting), in which sperm cells with high DNA fragility are marked with “micro beads” and undergo special filtration on a magnetic column. At the end of the process, only those cells with low fragility are selected for fertilization.”
For at least 25% of the couples attending fertility clinics, the source of their infertility has not been found – “unexplained infertility.” With these couples, treatment focuses on attempts to increase the chances of becoming pregnant through insemination treatments and later IVF. For some couples, pregnancy is not achieved despite appropriate reaction to the treatment and the creation of many good quality fetuses. This is called “repeated implant failures” in medical jargon. The new test could increase the chances of success in these cases.