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How Much Sperm Is Enough?


a blog by Michelle Ottey, PhD, Director of Operations, Fairfax Cryobank and Cryogenic Laboratories, Inc., March 9, 2011

So often in life we are told that more is better. Sometimes there is a sufficient number or size, but because of the “bigger is better” philosophy we overlook this.

Who hasn’t gotten the large popcorn for only 75 cents more at the movies, even though the medium would have been more than enough?

This applies to sperm donation, too. Sperm banks offer donor sperm with variable volumes, cell counts and motilities. These variables are dependent on the sperm bank and the prep type (IUI, ICI, IVF).

The decision of what is in the vial must be made with careful consideration for the needs of the patient to achieve pregnancy. Studies have demonstrated that when it comes to pregnancy rates, more sperm is not necessarily better. There is an observed plateau in pregnancy rates once the number of sperm in an insemination dose reaches 10 million. (Van Voorhis et al, 2001) & (Cressman et al, 1996).

The bottom line in terms of count is that increasing sperm numbers beyond 10 million per dose does not have an appreciable impact on pregnancy rates.

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