The Low Down on Sperm Quality and Sperm Banks

An ICSI procedure

An ICSI procedure

Hello!  Hey I wanted to let you know I recorded a juicy podcast with Eric Kendall of European Sperm Bank USA.  We got into some really nitty gritty details on sperm donation.  

If you are for sure using a sperm donor, or have compromised semen quality and are wondering what to do next, you should tune in to the 40 minute podcast HERE.

There were a few bits of 'unfinished business' from the show that I want to cover here.

Anti-sperm antibodies- What are the odds you have them?

1-6% of women who are having trouble conceiving test positive for anti-sperm antibodies, according to the Arizona Center for Fertility Studies.  However a positive test result does not mean you cannot get pregnant naturally. 

A man can produce antibodies to his own sperm, but in infrequent instances a woman can produce antibodies to any sperm.  In rare cases this would cause a severe reaction after sexual intercourse, and in most cases in would be an asymptomatic immune response. 

In a woman, this can be tested through a blood test or a post-coital test.

The level of antibodies present will determine the chances of natural conception.  If these levels are too high, IVF with ICSI may be recommended.  

MTHFR Testing- Is it needed for your male parter or sperm donor?

I found a helpful article on MTHFR and male fertility at  The findings are somewhat mixed. A lack of folic acid through an MTHFR mutation can lead to a low sperm count or DNA abnormalities that could cause miscarriage.  However if the man is taking in abundant sources of folate in his diet, or taking a methylated folate supplement, the fertility issue may be resolved.

As a sperm bank does check for count and quality, that is helpful.  But it sounds like MTFHR is not a standard test.

If you are a woman with a known MTHFR defect and you are using a sperm bank, I would inquire with their genetic counselor on the issue.  

ICSI- Does it decrease the odds of having a healthy baby?

Our friends at summarized a study published in the New England Journal of Medicine pretty well.  

"Overall, the rate of birth defects is about 6 percent with unassisted conception, 7 percent with IVF and 10 percent with ICSI."

"A history of infertility, either with or without assisted conception, was also significantly associated with birth defects," lead author of the study, Associate Professor Michael Davies from the University of Adelaide's Robinson Institute and School of Paediatrics and Reproductive Health continues. 

"While factors associated with the causes of infertility explained the excess risk associated with IVF, the increased risk for a number of other treatments could not readily be explained by patient factors. ICSI, for instance, had a 57 percent increase in the odds of major defect, although the absolute size of the risk remained relatively small."

I love getting into these advanced issues that I don't see other practitioners taking the time to research.  Are you ready to take your fertility care to the next level?  You can schedule your first session anytime through our site.  

Thanks,  Bridgit

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