“Sperm washing”: A common procedure in fertility treatments

Sperm washing is a standard procedure used in fertility treatments such as intrauterine insemination (IUI) and in vitro fertilization (IVF). Most registered sperm banks also offer clients the option of purchasing “washed” sperm.

Using specialized equipment in a laboratory, sperm are separated from the seminal fluid found in men’s ejaculate – fluid that can impede the sperm from reaching and fertilizing a woman’s egg. There are several techniques used to wash men’s sperm – including “simple”, “density gradient separation”, and “swim up” methods. These procedures enhance the ability of sperm to fertilize a woman’s egg, in part because they ensure that only the healthiest sperm are used during IUI or IVF treatments. Dead or slow-moving sperm, as well as any substances that may impede fertilization, are separated from healthy sperm during the washing process. In addition, because sexually transmitted infections (STIs) are carried in the seminal fluid, sperm washing can help to reduce the transmission of STIs, although there is no guarantee that “washed” sperm is virus-free.

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One Response to ““Sperm washing”: A common procedure in fertility treatments”

  1. anon says:

    I love this picture! Very cute. I’ve never heard of “washing” sperm but I guess I learned something new today!

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