The sperm sample
The sperm sample is normally produced at home. It is produced by masturbation in a container, that we provide, when we plan the oocyte pick-up or the insemination. There should have been no ejaculation for 1-2 days prior to providing the sample. In practical terms, this means no ejaculation after the time when the woman has taken the final oocyte maturation injection. Longer periods of abstinence do not improve the sperm quality.
For some men with a very low sperm count, or when there may be a risk that the sample does not contain sperm cells at all we sometimes suggest that a sperm sample is provided both the day before oocyte pick-up and on the day of the pick-up.
Some men may have difficulty producing a sperm sample ‘under pressure’. If you expect that this may be a possibility for you, some precautions may be taken. For example, you may provide a sperm sample in advance, which can be frozen and used as a back-up. The sperm quality will be reduced due to the freeze- thaw process but it will virtually always be usable for ICSI.
I the laboratory we prepare the sperm sample by washing and a gradient centrifugation. The best motile sperm cells are concentrated and used for insemination or IVF. During or just after the oocyte pick-up we will inform you about the quality of the sample.