New Shady Grove Fertility Study Identifies Promising Method for Selecting Better Quality Sperm Used during IVF

06:00 EDT 19 Oct 2016 | PR Web

A leader in clinical research, Shady Grove Fertility presents key findings at the 2016 American Society of Reproductive Medicine’s Scientific Congress and Expo.

Rockville, MD (PRWEB) October 19, 2016

Shady Grove Fertility, a leader in reproductive medicine and clinical research, published a new study that identifies a promising new method for selecting functionally viable sperm, which shows promise for improving fertilization and embryo development for patients who need assisted reproductive technologies (ART).

For decades, male factor infertility was the most difficult form of infertility to successfully treat and overcome. That all changed in 1992 with the introduction of intracytoplasmic sperm injection (ICSI). While this breakthrough was able to successfully treat most cases of male factor infertility, there remain couples for whom poor sperm quality remains a barrier to treatment success. This year at the American Society of Reproductive Medicine’s 2016 Scientific Congress and Expo in Salt Lake City, October 15 to 19, Shady Grove Fertility scientist, Matteo Avella, Ph.D., presented a study that identifies a new sperm selection assay that helps select the best sperm—those with a greater ability to bind and penetrate eggs—in the hopes of improving outcomes for these patients (Poster Number#: P–16, Sci. Transl. Med. 335: 336ra60, 2016). This method, which has recently been highlighted in top-ranking scientific journals (Nature; Nature Reviews Urology; Science News) as well as by the international media (Daily Mail; Telegraph) could prove useful in selecting the most viable sperm for intracytoplasmic sperm injection (ICSI).

In vitro fertilization (IVF) is achieved in one of two ways: conventional insemination or intracytoplasmic sperm injection (ICSI). For conventional insemination, the embryologist simply combines eggs and semen in a dish, giving the sperm the opportunity to penetrate and fertilize the eggs.

With ICSI, instead of mixing thousands of sperm with the eggs, the embryologist selects a single sperm and injects it directly into each egg. The next day, each egg is checked for evidence of fertilization. While ICSI has dramatically improved treatment success rates in couples with severe male factor infertility, improved sperm selection holds potential to yield even better outcomes by improving chances of fertilization and development of the resulting embryos.

In this study, researchers generated special microscopic beads that mimic human eggs. These beads are coated of a protein called ZP2. In humans, ZP2 is found in the zona pellucida, the egg envelope that surrounds eggs. Sperm must bind specifically to this protein in order to fertilize the egg. These ZP2-coated beads/mock eggs can attract ‘the best’ sperm and will be used for patients requiring ICSI.

Given this research study identified a promising new method for selecting functionally viable sperm with superior ability to bind and penetrate the outer coating of the egg, use of sperm selected by this method may improve fertilization and embryo development for patients who need assisted reproductive technologies (ART). Researchers at Shady Grove Fertility are currently planning a larger randomized controlled trial to further evaluate the ability of this innovative technology to help patients. This study is one of many examples of how Shady Grove Fertility’s researchers and physicians strive to give patients access to the most up-to-date and effective treatment options.

About the 2016 ASRM Scientific Congress & Expo
The 2016 ASRM Scientific Congress & Expo is the premier scientific congress for reproductive medicine that will address state-of-the-art issues in reproductive medicine and science. Held from October 15 to 19, 2016, in Salt Lake City, UT, the theme of the 2016 Scientific Congress of the American Society for Reproductive Medicine is “Scaling New Heights in Reproductive Medicine.” The program features scientific, postgraduate, and video presentations as well as plenary lectures addressing the most pressing clinical and basic-science issues in reproductive medicine.

About Shady Grove Fertility
Shady Grove Fertility is a leading fertility and IVF center of excellence offering patients individualized care, innovative financial options, and pregnancy rates among the highest of all national centers. 2016 commemorates 25 years of Shady Grove Fertility providing medical and service excellence to patients from all 50 states and 35 countries around the world, and celebrates over 40,000 babies born—more than any other center in the nation. Today, 34 reproductive endocrinologists, supported by a highly specialized team of 600 urologists, Ph.D. scientists, geneticists, and staff care for patients in 19 full-service offices and six satellite sites throughout Maryland, Pennsylvania, Virginia, and Washington, D.C. Shady Grove Fertility physicians actively train residents and reproductive endocrinology fellows and invest in continuous clinical research and education to advance the field of reproductive medicine through numerous academic appointments and partnerships such as Georgetown Medical School, Walter Reed National Military Medical Center, the University of Maryland, and the National Institutes of Health. More than 1,700 physicians refer their patients to Shady Grove Fertility each year. For more information, call 1-888-761-1967 or visit

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