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The effect of swim-up and gradient sperm preparation techniques on deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA) fragmentation in subfertile patients

  • Gamete Biology
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To compare the effect of two different sperm preparation techniques, including swim-up and gradient methods on sperm deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA) fragmentation status of semen samples from unexplained and mild male factor subfertile patients undergoing intrauterine insemination (IUI).


A prospective randomized study was conducted in 65 subfertile patients, including 34 unexplained and 31 male factor infertility to compare basal and post-procedure DNA fragmentation rates in swim-up and gradient techniques. Sperm DNA fragmentation rates were evaluated by a sperm chromatin dispersion (SCD) test in two portions of each sample of semen that was prepared with either swim-up or gradient techniques. Sperm motility and morphology were also assessed based on WHO 2010 criteria.


Swim-up but not gradient method yielded a statistically significant reduction in the DNA fragmented sperm rate after preparation as compared to basal rates, in the semen samples of both unexplained (41.85 ± 22.04 vs. 28.58 ± 21.93, p < 0.001 for swim-up; and 41.85 ± 22.04 vs. 38.79 ± 22.30, p = 0.160 for gradient) and mild male factor (46.61 ± 19.38 vs. 30.32 ± 18.20, p < 0.001 for swim-up and 46.61 ± 19.38 vs. 44.03 ± 20.87, p = 0.470 for gradient) subgroups.


Swim-up method significantly reduces sperm DNA fragmentation rates and may have some prognostic value on intrauterine insemination in patients with decreased sperm DNA integrity.

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We thank Gazi University Unit of Scientific Research Projects for supporting our study.

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Correspondence to Ismail Guler.

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The Local Ethical Committee, Board of Clinical Researches of Gazi University, approved the study with an approval number of 200. This study was also registered to Protocol Registration and Results System with an ID of NCT01859520 and title “Swim up and Gradient Methods Used in Assisted Reproduction Techniques on DNA Fragmentation of Spermatozoa”.

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Oguz, Y., Guler, I., Erdem, A. et al. The effect of swim-up and gradient sperm preparation techniques on deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA) fragmentation in subfertile patients. J Assist Reprod Genet 35, 1083–1089 (2018).

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