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Concept: Intracytoplasmic sperm injection


What is the semen quality of young adult men who were conceived 18-22 years ago by ICSI for male infertility?

Concepts: Infertility, Fertility medicine, Intracytoplasmic sperm injection


The extent to which birth defects after infertility treatment may be explained by underlying parental factors is uncertain.

Concepts: Pregnancy, Risk, Infertility, Assisted reproductive technology, Uncertainty, Fertility medicine, Intracytoplasmic sperm injection, Reproductive technology


The aim of the present study was to determine whether the use of oocytes from juvenile female mice would improve the efficiency of intracytoplasmic sperm injection (ICSI). In the present study, 15 adult and 14 juvenile C57BL6/J female mice were superovulated, with 17.8 oocytes per mouse harvested from adults, significantly lower than the 40.2 harvested from juveniles (P<0.01). Sixty and 233 oocytes were harvested from C57BL/6J adult and juvenile mice respectively, activated in 10mM SrCl2+5μgmL-1 cytochalasin B for 5-6h and cultured in potassium simplex optimisation medium (KSOM) for 3.5 days, with no differences in morula and blastocyst rates between groups (91.7% vs 96.6%; P>0.05). Twelve hours after injection of human chorionic gonadotrophin, oocytes were harvested from C57BL/6J juvenile mice into KSOM, randomly divided into groups and activated with the same method mentioned above at 0, 2, 4 or 6h and then cultured in KSOM for 3.5 days. There was no significant difference in morula and blastocyst rates among the different groups (P>0.05). Oocytes from juvenile mice activated in 10mM SrCl2 for 2h were subjected to ICSI and the rates of pronuclear formation and Day 1 cleavage were significantly improved compared with the control group (P<0.01). ICSI combined with activation of oocytes from inbred mouse strains (C57BL/6J, C57BL/6N and 129Svev) successfully produced pups. The fertility of some these mice resulting from ICSI was tested, and the animals proved fertile. In conclusion, superovulated juvenile mice can yield more useable oocytes than adult mice, but additional activation is essential for full development of ICSI oocytes harvested from juvenile inbred mice.

Concepts: Present, Fertility, Spermatozoon, Human chorionic gonadotropin, Mouse, Zygote, Morula, Intracytoplasmic sperm injection


Infertility is estimated to affect as many as 186 million people worldwide. Although male infertility contributes to more than half of all cases of global childlessness, infertility remains a woman’s social burden. Unfortunately, areas of the world with the highest rates of infertility are often those with poor access to assisted reproductive techniques (ARTs). In such settings, women may be abandoned to their childless destinies. However, emerging data suggest that making ART accessible and affordable is an important gender intervention. To that end, this article presents an overview of what we know about global infertility, ART and changing gender relations, posing five key questions: (i) why is infertility an ongoing global reproductive health problem? (ii) What are the gender effects of infertility, and are they changing over time? (iii) What do we know about the globalization of ART to resource-poor settings? (iv) How are new global initiatives attempting to improve access to IVF? (v) Finally, what can be done to overcome infertility, help the infertile and enhance low-cost IVF (LCIVF) activism?

Concepts: Pregnancy, Infertility, Fertility, Assisted reproductive technology, Woman, 21st century, Fertility medicine, Intracytoplasmic sperm injection


Artificial oocyte activation to overcome failed fertilization after intra-cytoplasmic sperm injection (ICSI) in human oocytes typically employs Ca(2+) ionophores to produce a single cytosolic Ca(2+) increase. In contrast, recombinant phospholipase Czeta (PLCζ) causes Ca(2+) oscillations indistinguishable from those occurring during fertilization, but remains untested for its efficacy in a scenario of ICSI fertilization failure. Here, we compare PLCζ with other activation stimuli in a mouse model of failed oocyte activation after ICSI, in which heat-treated sperm are injected into mouse oocytes. We show that increasing periods of 56(o)C exposure of sperm produces a progressive loss of Ca(2+) oscillations after ICSI. The decrease in Ca(2+) oscillations produces a reduction in oocyte activation and embryo development to the blastocyst stage. We treated such oocytes that failed to activate after ICSI either with Ca(2+) ionophore, or with Sr(2+) media which causes Ca(2+) oscillations, or we injected them with recombinant human PLCζ. All these treatments rescued oocyte activation, although Sr(2+) and PLCζ gave the highest rates of development to blastocyst. When recombinant PLCζ was given to oocytes previously injected with control sperm, they developed normally to the blastocyst stage at rates similar to that after control ICSI. The data suggest that recombinant human PLCζ protein is an efficient means of rescuing oocyte activation after ICSI failure and that it can be effectively used even if the sperm already contains endogenous Ca(2+) releasing activity.

Concepts: Cell nucleus, Reproduction, Spermatozoon, Meiosis, Zygote, Blastocyst, Intracytoplasmic sperm injection, Rescue


Are reproductive hormone levels (FSH, LH, inhibin B and testosterone) in male offspring conceived by ICSI because of male infertility comparable with those from peers born after spontaneous conception?

Concepts: Hormone, Menopause, Luteinizing hormone, Testosterone, Follicle-stimulating hormone, Puberty, Intracytoplasmic sperm injection


Spermatozoa motility is the critical parameter to affect the treatment outcomes during assisted reproductive technologies (ART), but its reproductive capability remains a little informed in condition of severe male factor infertility. This retrospective cohort study aimed to evaluate the effects of reduced sperm motility on the embryological and clinical outcomes in intra-cytoplasmic sperm injection (ICSI) treatment of severe oligozoospermia.

Concepts: Cohort study, Reproduction, Sperm, Fertility, Spermatozoon, Assisted reproductive technology, Fertility medicine, Intracytoplasmic sperm injection


Semen parameters are typically used to diagnose male infertility and specify clinical interventions. In idiopathic infertile couples, an unknown male factor could be the cause of infertility even when the semen parameters are normal. Next-generation sequencing of spermatozoal RNAs can provide an objective measure of the paternal contribution and may help guide the care of these couples. We assessed spermatozoal RNAs from 96 couples presenting with idiopathic infertility and identified the final reproductive outcome and sperm RNA elements (SREs) reflective of fecundity status. The absence of required SREs reduced the probability of achieving live birth by timed intercourse or intrauterine insemination from 73 to 27%. However, the absence of these same SREs does not appear to be critical when using assisted reproductive technologies such as in vitro fertilization with or without intracytoplasmic sperm injection. About 30% of the idiopathic infertile couples presented an incomplete set of required SREs, suggesting a male component as the cause of their infertility. Conversely, analysis of couples that failed to achieve a live birth despite presenting with a complete set of SREs suggested that a female factor may have been involved, and this was confirmed by their diagnosis. The data in this study suggest that SRE analysis has the potential to predict the individual success rate of different fertility treatments and reduce the time to achieve live birth.

Concepts: Pregnancy, Reproduction, Infertility, Fertility, In vitro fertilisation, Assisted reproductive technology, Fertility medicine, Intracytoplasmic sperm injection


There’s no doubt that reproductive technologies can transform lives for the better. Infertile couples and single, lesbian, gay, intersex, and transgender people have the potential to form families in ways that would have been inconceivable years ago. Yet we are concerned about the widespread commercialization of certain egg-freezing programs, the messages they propagate about motherhood, the way they blur the line between care and experimentation, and the manipulative and exaggerated marketing that stretches the truth and inspires false hope in women of various ages. We argue that although reproductive technology, and egg freezing in particular, promise to improve women’s care by offering more choices to achieve pregnancy and childbearing, they actually have the potential to be disempowering. First, commercial motives in the fertility industry distort women’s medical deliberations, thereby restricting their autonomy; second, having the option to freeze their eggs can change the meaning of women’s reproductive choices in a way that is limiting rather than liberating.

Concepts: Family, Pregnancy, Infertility, Fertility, Meaning of life, Assisted reproductive technology, Transgender, Intracytoplasmic sperm injection


The pioneering of intracytoplasmic sperm injection (ICSI) approximately 25 years ago revolutionized the treatment of infertile couples. Today, ICSI remains an indispensable part of assisted reproductive treatments (ART) and has resulted in the birth of millions of babies. The 25th anniversary of ICSI marks a chronologic landmark in its evolving history. This landmark also serves as an opportunity to thoroughly appraise the safety of ICSI and analyze the long-term outcomes of ICSI-conceived children. In this review, we collate and analyze salient data accrued over the past 25 years pertaining to the long-term safety of ICSI and ICSI conceptions. We also evaluate the effects of ICSI on the perinatal outcomes, congenital malformation rates, cognitive development, and reproductive health of ICSI-conceived neonates, children, adolescents, and adults, respectively. In doing so, we also highlight the existence of potential confounders and biases that frequently obscure the interpretation of clinical follow-up studies.

Concepts: Pregnancy, Childbirth, Fertility, Congenital disorder, Congenital disorders, Congenital, Congenital abnormality, Intracytoplasmic sperm injection