The Sperm Penetration Assay for the Assessment of Fertilization Capacity

  • Kathleen Hwang
  • Dolores J. LambEmail author
Part of the Methods in Molecular Biology book series (MIMB, volume 927)


The sperm penetration assay, or zona-free hamster oocyte penetration assay, is utilized to measure the ability of sperm to undergo capacitation, fuse with the egg membrane, and decondense the sperm head within the cytoplasm of the oocyte, resulting in the formation of the male pronucleus. The test is scored by calculation of the percentage of ova that are penetrated (the original assay developed) or the average number of sperm penetrations per ovum (the sperm capacitation index of the optimized assay). The sperm penetration assay identifies those couples that will have a high likelihood of success with in vitro fertilization.

Key words

Male infertility Sperm Zona pellucida Gamete interaction Sperm–oocyte penetration 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Surgery (Urology)The Alpert Medical School of Brown UniversityProvidenceUSA
  2. 2.Scott Department of Urology and Molecular and Cellular BiologyCenter for Reproductive Medicine, Baylor College of MedicineHoustonUSA

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