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Fertil Steril. 1993 Feb;59(2):387-92.

The sex ratio of normal and manipulated human sperm quantitated by the polymerase chain reaction.

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  • 1Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, Brigham and Women's Hospital, Boston, Massachusetts 02115.



To establish the primary sex ratio, the relative abundance of X and Y chromosome-bearing sperm, in unselected sperm and in sperm selected by swim-up or Sephadex filtration (SpermPrep column; Fertility Technologies, Inc., Natick, MA). This was done to evaluate the possibility that these semen manipulations change the primary sex ratio.


Ninety-eight unmanipulated semen samples were analyzed for sex chromosome content using quantitative polymerase chain reaction (PCR). A smaller number of samples was analyzed before and after either swim-up or Sephadex filtration.


The mean percentage of all sex chromosomes identified as a Y chromosome in unmanipulated semen samples ranged from 41.9% to 56.7%, with a mean average of 50.3%. There was no significant change in sex chromosome composition after either swim-up (n = 17) or column filtration (n = 20).


The chromosome compositions of semen samples from a large number of men have equal numbers of X and Y. Swim-up and SpermPrep filtration do not appear to alter the primary sex ratio.

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