Sperm washing is a standard procedure used in infertility treatments. Sperm are separated from seminal fluids using a centrifuge.
Because HIV has been found in the seminal fluid and in semen cells, but not sperm, it is believed that separating the sperm from the seminal fluid will lower the risk of infection.
Semen Analysis for Infertility & Complicating Factors
In addition to HIV viral testing and sperm washing, each semen specimen undergoes a standard semen analysis to evaluate male fertility and/or detect problems in male organs.
If a semen specimen has greater than one million/ml non-sperm cells, an immunostain will be performed. The immunostain will color immune cells (leukocytes) red-brown, thus distinguishing them from immature sperm. Since immune cells may carry the virus, a high count may indicate a higher risk of virus transmission through the sample. The client may need to see a urologist to correct the problem of high immune cells in semen.
Cryopreservation is the process of freezing sperm in liquid nitrogen so that they remain alive and may be shipped to a cooperating fertility center for use in conception.
Bedford scientists will only store cryopreserved sperm from semen specimens that have an undetectable viral burden using the PCR test. Specimens will be stored until you require them.