Predictive value of sperm morphology and movement characteristics in the outcome of in vitro fertilization of human oocytes

  • S. Y. W. Chan
  • C. Wang
  • S. T. H. Chan
  • P. C. Ho
  • W. W. K. So
  • Y. F. Chan
  • H. K. Ma
Special Contributions


One hundred fourteen semen samples from Chinese males were analyzed for routine semen parameters including the semen volume, sperm count, percentage motility, and percentage normal morphology. Of these 114 samples, 54 also had movement characteristics of seminal and swim-up sperm evaluated by the computer image analyzer system (Cellsoft; Cryo Resources Co., New York). All semen samples were subjected to the swim-up procedure to harvest the motile sperm before inseminations of human oocytes. Fertilization was considered to have occurred when at least one oocyte was observed with two or more pronuclei. Semen samples were classified as infertile (0% fertilization rate;N=32) or fertile (>0% fertilization rate;N=82) before statistical analyses. There was a significant difference (P<0.005) in percentage normal morphology of seminal sperm between the fertile (mean±SE; 67.3±1.2%) and the infertile (59.3±2.2%) samples. The percentage normal morphology of seminal sperm correlated (r=0.3049;P<0.002) with the fertilization rate and this parameter was selected by the multivariate stepwise discriminant analysis as the discriminator capable of predicting the fertilization rate with 57.9% accuracy. Statistical analyses of samples where sperm movement was also evaluated demonstrated that there was significant differences (P<0.01) between the fertile (N=38) and the infertile (N=16) samples in percentage normal morphology of seminal sperm (67.8±1.8% vs 56.2±2.6%) and curvilinear velocity of swim-up sperm (89.2±3.5 vs 68.2±7.2 μm/sec). The fertilization rates correlated with the percentage normal morphology of seminal sperm (r=0.3868;P<0.005) and velocity of swim-up sperm (r=0.3842;P<0.005). Multivariate stepwise discriminant analysis demonstrated that these two sperm parameters in combination were capable of predicting the fertilization rate with 74.1% accuracy. Our results indicate that seminal sperm morphology, coupled with computerassisted image analysis of movement characteristics of swim-up sperm, can help to predict the outcome of in vitro fertilization of human oocytes.

Key Words

in vitro fertilization human sperm normal sperm morphology sperm movement characteristics 


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.


  1. 1.
    Edwards RC, Fishel SB, Purdy JM: In vitro fertilization of human egg, analysis of follicular growth, ovulation and fertilization.In Fertilization of Human Eggs in vitro, HM Beier, HR Linder (eds). Berlin, Springer-Verlag, 1983, pp 169–188Google Scholar
  2. 2.
    Hirsch I, Gibbons WE, Lipshultz LI, Rossavik KK, Young RL, Poindexter AN, Dodson MG, Fubdley WE: In vitro fertilization in couples with male factor infertility. Fertil Steril 1986;45:659–664PubMedGoogle Scholar
  3. 3.
    Matson PL, Turner SR, Yovich JM, Tuvik AL, Yovich JL: Oligospermic infertility treated by in vitro fertilization. Aust NZ J Obstet Gynecol 1986;26:84–87Google Scholar
  4. 4.
    Mahadevan MM, Trounson AO: The influence of seminal characteristics on the success rate of human in vitro fertilization. Fertil Steril 1984;42:400–405PubMedGoogle Scholar
  5. 5.
    Battin D, Vargyas JM, Sato F, Brown F, Marrs RP: The correlation between in vitro fertilization of human oocytes and semen profiles. Fertil Steril 1985;44:835–838PubMedGoogle Scholar
  6. 6.
    Acosta AA, Van Uem J, Ackerman SB, Mayer JF, Stecker JF, swanson RJ, Plebam P, Yuan J, Chillik C, Brugo S: Estimation of male fertility by examination and testing of spermatozoa.In In Vitro Fertilization-Norfolk, HW Jones, GS Jones, GD Hodgen, Z. Rosenwaks (eds). Baltimore, Williams and Wilkins, 1985, pp 126–161Google Scholar
  7. 7.
    Van Uem JFHM, Acosta AA, Swanson RJ, Mayer J, Ackerman SB, Burkman LJ, Veeck L, McDowell JS, Bernardus RE, Jones HW: Male factor evaluation in in vitro fertilization: Norfolk experience. Fertil Steril 1985;44:375–383PubMedGoogle Scholar
  8. 8.
    Kruger TF, Acosta AA, Simmans KF, Swanson RJ, Matta JF, Oehninger S: Predictive value of abnormal sperm morphology in in vitro fertilization. Fertil Steril 1988;49:112–117PubMedGoogle Scholar
  9. 9.
    Liu DY, Du Plessis YP, Nayudu PL, Johnston WIH, Baker HWG: The use of in vitro fertilization to evaluate putative tests of human sperm function. Fertil Steril 1988;49:272–277PubMedGoogle Scholar
  10. 10.
    Gerris J, Khan I: Correlation between in vitro fertilization and human sperm density and motility. J Androl 1987;8: 48–54PubMedGoogle Scholar
  11. 11.
    Holt WV, Moore HDM, Hillier SG: Computer-assisted measurement of sperm swimming speed in human semen: Correlation of results with in vitro fertilization assays. Fertil Steril 1985;44:112–119PubMedGoogle Scholar
  12. 12.
    Jeulin C, Feneux D, Serres C, Jouannet P, Guillet-Rosso F, Relaisch-Allart J, Frydman R, Testart J: Sperm factors related to failure of human in vitro fertilization. J Reprod Fertil 1986;76:735–744PubMedGoogle Scholar
  13. 13.
    Purdy M: Methods for fertilization and embryo culture in vitro.In Human Conception in vitro, RG Edwards, JM Purdy (eds). London, Academic Press, 1982, pp 135–148Google Scholar
  14. 14.
    World Health Organization: Laboratory Manual for the Examination of Human Semen and Semen-Cervical Mucus Interaction, MA Belsey, R Eliasson, AJ Galegos, KS Moghissi, CA Paulsen, MRN Prasad (eds). Cambridge, Cambridge University Press, 1987Google Scholar
  15. 15.
    BMDF: BMDP Statistical Software-Manual, WJ Dixon, MB Brown, L Engelman, JW Frane, MA Hill, RI Jennrich, JD Toporek (eds). Berkley, University of California Press, 1985, pp 519–537Google Scholar
  16. 16.
    Wolf DP, Byrd W, Dandekar P, Quigley MM: Sperm concentration and the fertilization of human eggs in vitro. Biol Reprod 1984;31:837–848PubMedGoogle Scholar
  17. 17.
    Kruger TF, Swanson RJ, Hamilton M, Simmons KF, Acosta AA, Matta JF, Oehninger S, Morshedi M: Abnormal sperm morphology and other semen parameters related to the out-come of the hamster oocyte human sperm penetration assay. Int J Androl 1988;11:107–113PubMedGoogle Scholar
  18. 18.
    Rogers BJ, Bentwood BJ, Van Campen H, Helmbrecht S, Soderdahl D, Hale RW: Sperm morphology assessment as an indicator of human fertilizing capacity. J Androl 1983;4:119–125PubMedGoogle Scholar
  19. 19.
    Wickings EJ, Freischem CW, Langer K, Nieschlag E: Heterologous ovum penetration test and seminal parameters in fertile and infertile men. J Androl 1983;4:261–271PubMedGoogle Scholar
  20. 20.
    Shalgi R, Dor J, Rudak E, Lusky A, Goldman B, Mashiach S, Nebel L: Penetration of sperm from teratospermic men into zona-free bamster eggs. Int J Androl 1985;8:285–294PubMedGoogle Scholar
  21. 21.
    Irvine DS: Tests of sperm function and male infertility.In Research in Reproduction, RG Edwards (ed). London, International Planned Parenthood Federation, 1986, pp 2–3Google Scholar
  22. 22.
    Irvine DS, Aitken RJ: Predictive value of in vitro sperm function tests in the context of an AID service. Hum Reprod 1986;1:539–545PubMedGoogle Scholar
  23. 23.
    Aitken RJ: Assessment of sperm function for IVF. Hum Reprod 1988;3:89–95PubMedGoogle Scholar
  24. 24.
    Liu DY, Elton RA, Johnston WIH, Baker HWG: Spermatozoal nuclear chromatin decondensation in vitro, a test for sperm immaturity, correlation with results of human in vitro fertilization. Clin Reprod Fertil 1987;5:191–207PubMedGoogle Scholar
  25. 25.
    Overstreet JW, Hembree WC: Penetration of the zona pellucida of nonliving human oocytes by human spermatozoa in vitro. Fertil Steril 1976;33:534–542Google Scholar
  26. 26.
    Singer SL, Lambert H, Overstreet JW, Hanson FW, Yanagimachi R: The kinetics of human sperm binding to the human zona pellucida and zona-free hamster oocyte in vitro. Gamete Res 1985;12:29–39Google Scholar
  27. 27.
    Liu DY, Baker HWG: The proportion of human sperm with poor morphology but normal intact acrosomes detected with pisum sativum agglutinin correlates with fertilization in vitro. Fertil Steril 1988;50:288–293PubMedGoogle Scholar
  28. 28.
    Overstreet JW, Price MJ, Blazak WF, Lewis EL, Katz DF: Simultaneous assessment of human sperm motility and morphology by videomicrography. J Urol 1981;126:357–360PubMedGoogle Scholar
  29. 29.
    Jagoe JR, Washbrook NP, Hudson EA: Morphometry of spermatozoa using semiautomatic image analysis. J Clin Pathol 1986;39:1347–1352PubMedGoogle Scholar
  30. 30.
    Freund M, Oliveira N: Visual versus cinemicrographic evaluation of human sperm motility and morphology. Arch Androl 1987;19:25–32PubMedGoogle Scholar
  31. 31.
    Jagoe JP, Washbrook NP, Pratsis L, Hudson EA: Sperm morphology by image analysis compared with subjective measurement. Br J Urol 1987;60:457–462PubMedGoogle Scholar
  32. 32.
    Green DPL: Sperm thrusts and the problem of penetration, Biol Rev 1988;63:79–105PubMedGoogle Scholar
  33. 33.
    Overstreet JW, Katz DF, Hanson F, Fonseca JR: A simple inexpensive method for objective assessment of human sperm movement characteristics. Fertil Steril 1979;31:162–172PubMedGoogle Scholar
  34. 34.
    Makler A: Use of the elaborated multiple exposure photography (MEP) method in routine sperm motility analysis and for research purposes. Fertil Steril 1980;33:160–166PubMedGoogle Scholar
  35. 35.
    Ishigami J: A new method for rapid spermatozoal concentration and motility: A multiple-exposure photography system using the Polaroid camera. Fertil Steril 1984;41:620–624PubMedGoogle Scholar
  36. 36.
    Makler A, MacLusky, Chodos A, Haseltine F, DeCherney A: Rapid microcomputer-based analysis of semen characteristics from photographs taken by the MEP method. Arch Androl 1984;12:91–95PubMedGoogle Scholar
  37. 37.
    Kamidono S, Hamaguchi T, Okada H, Hazama M, Matsumoto O, Ishigami J: A new method for rapid spermatozoal concentration and motility: A multiple-exposure photography system using the Polaroid camera. Fertil Steril 1984;41:620–624PubMedGoogle Scholar
  38. 38.
    Aitken RJ, Best FSM, Richardson DW, Djahanbakkch O, Mortimer D, Templeton AA, Lee MM: An analysis of sperm function in cases of unexplained infertility: Conventional criteria, movement characteristics, and fertilizing capacity. Fertil Steril 1982;38:212–221PubMedGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Plenum Publishing Corporation 1989

Authors and Affiliations

  • S. Y. W. Chan
    • 1
  • C. Wang
    • 2
  • S. T. H. Chan
    • 3
  • P. C. Ho
    • 1
  • W. W. K. So
    • 1
  • Y. F. Chan
    • 1
  • H. K. Ma
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Obstetrics and GynaecologyUniversity of Hong Kong, Queen Mary HospitalHong Kong
  2. 2.Department of MedicineUniversity of Hong Kong, Queen Mary HospitalHong Kong
  3. 3.Department of ZoologyUniversity of Hong KongHong Kong

Personalised recommendations