The effect of the swim-up and hyaluronan-binding methods on the frequency of abnormal spermatozoa detected by FISH and SCSA in carriers of balanced chromosomal translocations

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The swim-up and hyaluronan (HA)-binding methods are used for the selection of good quality spermatozoa to improve pregnancy rates and embryo quality and to reduce the number of miscarriages after IVF. We evaluated whether the processing of sperm by these methods reduces the frequency of spermatozoa with abnormal karyotypes and altered chromatin quality in balanced translocation carriers.


Semen samples of 12 carriers of balanced chromosomal translocations were analysed for the frequency of spermatozoa, which are chromosomally unbalanced due to the segregation of balanced translocations, aneuploidies for chromosomes 7, 8, 13, 18, 21, X or Y, diploid sperm or sperm with fragmented DNA and poorly condensed chromatin. Results obtained by fluorescence in situ hybridization (FISH) and sperm chromatin structure assay were compared between ejaculated (n = 12), swim-up (n = 12) and HA-binding processed (n = 6) semen samples of the translocation carriers and with the control group (n = 10).


The mean frequencies of unbalanced segregation products were 17.5 and 16.5% in neat and swim-up processed samples from Robertsonian translocation carriers, and 55.4, 54.5 and 50.9% in neat, swim-up and HA-bound sperm samples from reciprocal translocation carriers. Significant decreases in the frequency of sperm showing chromosome 18 and XY disomy and of diploidy, and in the rates of high-density staining sperm were observed in the motile swim-up fractions. There were significantly more sperm showing fragmented chromatin in the group of translocation carriers than in the control group, but no differences in the aneuploidy and diploidy rates were observed.


The swim-up method is suitable for selection of sperm with condensed chromatin and a lower frequency of some aneuploidies and of diploidy. The frequency of spermatozoa chromosomally unbalanced due to the segregation of reciprocal (but not Robertsonian) translocations is significantly lower in HA-bound sperm. However, the advantages of either method for selecting normal sperm are limited.

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