Sperm collection – how is it done?
At the same time as the egg collection, or straight after, the male partner will produce the sperm, preferably by masturbation. It is very important for the entire sample to be collected. If not all the sample is collected or if the sample does not contain enough spermatozoa, the male partner may be asked to provide a second sample a few hours after the first one. The couple will be informed about the day of egg collection, at which time the male partner must have 2-5 days abstinence from ejaculation.
In certain cases that the male partner is unable to collect the sperm sample by masturbation, special silastic non-toxic condoms that do not contain any spermicides (normal condoms that are not designed for this use usually contain spermicides).
Sperm collection and preparation
After the sperm production, the sample is processed (preparation-condensation) in order to select the motile and morphologically normal sperm. During this process the sample is centrifuged using a high viscosity colloid sample (e.g. pure sperm).
This process mimics the normal spermatozoa activation that occurs in vivo inside the female genital tract and enables the spermatozoa to fertilize the eggs. Following this preparation, the spermatozoa are kept in the laboratory under sterile culture conditions until placed together with the eggs.
Ejaculation problems and ways of overcoming them
These are identified during the preliminary examination of the couple and ways of overcoming them are explored.
In the case of retrograde ejaculation (backward release of semen into the bladder) the male partner needs to drink a sodium bicarbonate solution (to alkalinize the urine) before he collects a urine sample, and the spermatozoa are recovered following a special preparation process.
In patients with ejaculation deficiency, observed in cases of spine injury (paraplegic-tetraplegic), diabetes and neurological conditions, sperm can be collected by induced ejaculation using a special electro-induction device (electroejaculation).
When there is a chance that the male partner may not be able to provide a semen sample on the day of egg collection, the cryopreservation of a semen sample prior to the egg collection is advised.