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Curr HIV Res. 2008 Sep;6(5):461-5.

Development and evaluation of single sperm washing for risk reduction in artificial reproductive technology (ART) for extreme oligospermic HIV positive patients.

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Human Reproduction Research Laboratory, Université Libre de Bruxelles, Bruxelles, Belgium.


The serodiscordant couples, where the male is HIV-positive, are treated in fertility clinics, using the sperm washing technique by gradient centrifugation. This protocol cannot be carried out in oligo-azoospermic patients, where spermatozoa retrieval from the epididymis and testis must be performed. We developed a single sperm washing technique, where the spermatozoa, after the retrieval, are washed with the aid of a micromanipulator, to obtain virus decontamination and then used for the intracytoplasmic sperm injection (ICSI). The experiment was performed by using sperm samples containing three different viral loads. After one hour of incubation, spermatozoa were taken one by one from the HIV loaded drop and washed in four different microdrops. Before each passage into the next washing drop, the pipette was emptied in a first waste drop and then loaded with new washing medium from a second separate loading drop. After transferring of 10 spermatozoa in these four successive drops, the washing medium and the virus-loaded drops were tested for the HIV RNA presence by the nested RT-PCR technique. The presence of the virus was detected in the waste drop of all three viral loads. The four washing microdrops were each time negative for the presence of HIV-1 RNA, tested by the nested RT-PCR technique. The results show that by rinsing the spermatozoa four times, we are able to diminish the viral load to an undetectable level. Our data demonstrate that single sperm washing can be performed in the cases of extreme male sterility in HIV-positive men. From now on the couples, where the male is oligoazoospermic and HIV positive, could be included in our ICSI program, respecting the usual viral safety level of the ART techniques for the embryo.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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