Contrary to the common misperception regarding infertility, the male factor plays a role equally significant as the female. According to statistics today, about 40 % – 45 % of patients admitted for IVF treatment have a male factor. Gynaecology and Obstetrics, IVF Specialist Professor Dr Erkut Attar, has said microchip application is an essential step in male infertility treatment.

The decrease in sperm count and motility can result in the chance of getting pregnant by natural means perish. In order to eliminate this situation, many studies are being conducted. One of them has the signature of a Turkish scientist at Harvard University Brigham and Woman’s Hospital in the U.S.A. Microchip technology, developed by mimicking natural physiology and started to be implemented in Turkey for the last five years, is presented as a hopeful application for infertility caused by the male factor.

Microchip is Suggested in Recurrent IVF Failure

Thanks to the microchip method, DNA-damaged sperm, immotile spermatozoa and morphologically uneven sperm can be eliminated, and sperm of better quality can be selected. Consequently, the patient’s chances to have healthy pregnancies do increase. This method is especially used in patients with repeated unsuccessful IVF trials, recurrent miscarriages, unexplained infertility, and also with severe DNA damage. It is also recommended for male infertility patients with a high rate of DNA damage and sperm, count and morphological motility disorders.

Results Reported in Clinical Studies

Professor Dr Erkut Attar, Chair of the Department of Women’s Health and Gynecology at the Yeditepe University, has told us this method, also known as “Chip Baby Treatment” or “Microfluid Chip Method“, is applied in many cases and healthy pregnancies are achieved. “Many clinical studies have shown that the post-microinjection rate of fertilization, embryo quality and pregnancy is higher in IVF treatments where microinjection method is used.”

Imitates Natural Physiology

The sperm chips that help in choosing healthy sperm consist of microducts, the width of which is less than half a millimeter. A specially produced solution is released into these microducts, followed by the injection of spermatozoa at the column’s top canal entrance. No preliminary procedural step required before the microchip method. The method is applied in many cases, and healthy pregnancies are achieved. He has given the following details about the application: “Similar to the natural physiology of sperm, they try to reach the egg cell from the cervix and tube, beginning to pass through these canals as they get used to. At the end of half an hour, unhealthy DNA-damaged spermatozoa are stuck in these channels, while healthy sperm with fewer DNA fractures pass through microchannels and gather in the opposite section. The quality of embryos obtained by microinjection method by using these selected spermatozoa and the rate of blastocysts reaching the 5th day is higher.”

Three Different Methods are Available

Telling that they can apply three different microchip methods according to the patient’s condition, Professor Attar has explained the methods they use in different cases: “The first of these methods is vaccination used in cases with a better sperm count. There are two separate types of microchips we also use to select the sperm for microinjection.

While enough count of motile sperm is needed to use the initially produced microchips, the latest microchips are of high quality, even if there are very few motile spermatozoa, they provide us with the opportunity to choose sperm.”

Sperm with the Least DNA Damage is Selected

Attracting attention to various scientific publications that show any damage to sperm DNA can lead to a decrease in embryo quality and failure in IVF applications, Prof. Attar has said sperm selection is of great importance in IVF treatments. “Thanks to microfluid chips it’s possible, in cases where sperm quality and motility are low, to sift and separate the morphologically better, motile spermatozoa with minimal DNA damage from immotility, immature and low-quality spermatozoa.”

Experience is Important

Although microfluid chips are very simple to use, Professor Attar gives this information: “To be able to correctly load sperm into micro ducts and then collect sperms, it is important to decide which microchip should be applied to the patient if the semen sample is suitable for the microchip method.”

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