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Standard and Gradient Sperm Washing for Fertility Treatment

Maximizing Fertility Treatment Effectiveness

Nurses with sample collection tools

Sperm washing is an important part of many different fertility treatments. A technique used in assisted reproductive technologies (ART) such as IUI and IVF, sperm washing improves the potency and concentration of a sperm sample. 

During the sperm-washing process, the semen sample is purified in our lab to remove any debris or other substances that could interfere with the fertilization process. There are two approaches to sperm washing, standard sperm washing and gradient sperm washing.  

Standard Sperm Washing

Standard sperm washing is a process where the semen sample is layered onto a washing buffer and a lab technician separates motile and viable sperm from seminal plasma, debris, and non-motile sperm. The sample is then spun in a centrifuge, a medical device that spins at a high rate and uses centrifugal force to separate compounds, and the purified sperm is used for reproductive purposes. 

Gradient Sperm Wash

A gradient sperm wash is a process where motile sperm are separated from seminal fluids using a density gradient medium, a chemical solution that can vary in concentration. In a centrifuge, the sperm is layered on to the gradient. When the centrifuge is activated, the most motile sperm travel to the lowermost layer, while debris and the least motile sperm stay on the top layer. The bottom layer of sperm is then collected and used for insemination purposes.

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