Background: A membrane-based electrophoretic filtration system, known as the Cell Sorter-10 (CS-10), that preferentially isolates spermatozoa with very low levels of DNA damage has recently been developed. However, it remains to be proven whether spermatozoa prepared in this way are capable of achieving fertilization in assisted conception. Therefore, this clinical trial was designed to answer this question. Methods: A split-sample split-cohort study design was employed to control for differences in semen and oocyte quality between 28 couples undergoing either intracytoplasmic sperm injection (ICSI) or IVF in this clinical trial. Each semen sample was split between preparation using the CS-10 and preparation by standard density gradient centrifugation (DGC) and each cohort of oocytes was split for insemination using either CS-10 (n = 197) or DGC (n = 195) prepared spermatozoa. Results: Both methods of sperm preparation yielded comparable rates of sperm recovery, motility and DNA fragmentation. There was no significant difference between the ability of CS-10 and DGC prepared spermatozoa to produce fertilization (62.4% versus 63.6%), cleavage (99.0% versus 88.5%) and high-quality embryos (27.4% versus 26.1%). Conclusions: This pilot study demonstrates that membrane-based electrophoresis is as effective as DGC in preparing sperm for IVF and ICSI, although it takes only a fraction of the time.
Human Reproduction Vol. 23, Issue 12, p. 2646-2651