Relationship between sperm quality and total fertilization failure in intracytoplasmic sperm injection and in vitro fertilization cycles: A cross-sectional study


Background: Total fertilization failure (TFF) is associated with essential mechanistic and cellular events.

Objective: The present study is a comprehensive examination of detrimental effects with well-known assays for predicting TFF in conventional in vitro fertilization (IVF) and intracytoplasmic sperm injection (ICSI) cycles.

Materials and Methods: Semen parameters of 90 men, including 60 cases who had experienced IVF/ICSI failure and a control group of 30 individuals, were evaluated. Sperm chromatin/DNA quality assessments were done by aniline blue, toluidine blue, chromomycin A3, and terminal deoxynucleotidyl transferase-mediated dUTP nick end labeling (TUNEL) assays. A lipid hydroperoxide (LPO) kit was used to measure the LPO, and JC1 staining was used to evaluate mitochondrial membrane potential (MMP).

Results: There were statistically significant differences found between the IVF, ICSI and control groups by the toluidine blue (p = 0.01), TUNEL (p = 0.02), and chromomycin A3 (p < 0.001) tests, but not by the aniline blue staining. Furthermore, there was a significant difference regarding LPO concentration and high MMP in cases of IVF fertilization failure compared to the control group (p = 0.04, p = 0.02, respectively). The logistic regression model showed that sperm viability was predictive for fertilization failure in the ICSI group. Sperm chromatin and DNA quality assays were not predictors for TFF in either group.

Conclusion: Cellular events such as high DNA fragmentation damage, high levels of reactive oxygen species, and low MMP levels can cause TFF in IVF and ICSI programs. Diagnostic tests, especially in cases with previous fertilization failure, showed significant differences in sperm chromatin and DNA quality between groups but could not predict the risk of TFF.

Key words: Intracytoplasmic sperm injection, In vitro fertilization, Reactive oxygen species, Chromatin, DNA fragmentation.

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