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  • "cloclo15" started this thread

Posts: 5

Reg: Nov 1st 2011

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Tuesday, November 1st 2011, 4:24pm

Can poor sperm lead to poor blastocyst rate?

Hi everyone,

I am new to Fertility Zone but I am going through my first ICSI treatment and I'm concerned (read devastated) by what has happened. I am worried that poor sperm quality will mean that we will never be able to grow quality blastocysts and therefore get pregnant.

I am 29 and have no reproductive issues that have been found. My DH is 31, a type one diabetic since he was 31, and it was discovered that he has consistently low sperm count (around 5million), low motility (around 12-15% but never fast progressive) and low morphology (ranging from 2-5 %). Our consultant told us that ICSI was the only way to go for us.

I took 150iu of Menopur daily and when it came to EC they collected 31 eggs. I was in a lot of pain afterwards for several days and told I was at high risk of OHSS (leading to several worried trips to the hospital), but my bloods stayed within normal limits and they decided to aim for a day 5 transfer as they said we were good prognosis patients.

Of the 31 eggs, only 25 were mature enough to be injected. Of these, only 18 fertilised, and four of these were poor quality eggs which didn't develop at all.

So this left us with 14 eggs. On day 2, we had a phone call to tell us that we had a 5 cell, a 3 cell and the other 12 were 4 cell. They said they used a grading system of 1-6 for the embryos and we had one grade 1 (excellent), 7 grade 2 (good) and 6 grade 3 (average). It was assumed that we would go on to blastocyst transfer - an earlier transfer was never really considered for us.

On day 4 in the afternoon, we had a phonecall to say that 4 of the embryos had fallen behind expected development, but the other 10 were all where they were expected to be - I assume at the morula stage.

On day 5 we arrived in the morning for the transfer. The embryologist told us we had one good blast to transfer (they only wanted to do SET) - a higher end 3BB - but that no more had reached blastocyst yet. I was concerned by this but they said they would do the transfer and then let the rest go to day 6 before looking to freeze any.

We found out yesterday that we have none to freeze! All but one other embryo had died - one had made blastocyst but wasn't good enough quality to freeze. Four others had started to form a cavity but arrested.

I just want to try to understand why this might have happened. The embryologist said it was unexpected, but that cycles differ and our next one might be better or even worse! Should couldn't give any reason for the mass death.

I just want to understand why this might have happened. Is it likely to be egg quality (perhaps I was overstimmed?) or is it more likely to be sperm quality since it happened after day 3? Could it be bad DNA? Does it suggest that the blasto they did transfer is likely to give up as well? Does this mean that in a future cycle we would be crazy to go to blastocyst no matter how many embryos survive at day 3 due to the possibility that there might be nothing to transfer. Does it mean that ICSI is unlikely to work for us due to poor sperm quality?

Anybody with male factor had this experience and can give advice?



Posts: 1,139

Reg: Dec 9th 2008

Location: Uk/ London/Middlesex

Children: One Angel baby Sam in heaven and proud Aunt of many/ One Precious Heart baby born 11/04/2012

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Tuesday, November 1st 2011, 4:55pm

Hi cloclo i am sure many ladies will answer,but my own experience is out of 39 ovums(and yes overstimulated badly ended up in hospital) we got 12 of which 8 were mature only 4 fertilised and transferred SET at day 5 as i was nhs and these were the rules,of the 3 remaining one was falling bit behind but we froze, i know my dh has lower morphology but remember thr sperm is washed, my doctor advised me that sometimes when so many ovums are produced quality may be compromised and also because i have pcos but again he said it is quality not quantity and i am now pg with that single embryo.
DH39varicocele opp06
lapdye,ov.drill2oct 09,too many treatments to mention
Shock natural:BFP:My miracle baby Sam Corey lost 17/01/11 4.30

IVF JULY/AUG 11 immune / severe OHSS but :BFP: [zx076]saw every week ,BORN WITH SPECIAL HEART April 12

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Tuesday, November 1st 2011, 5:35pm

Embryologists wash/spin off the premium quality sperm provided by your partner and fertilization will be completed by the best of what's on offer, early die off can be a result of genetic faults on sperm or egg side.

Your partners sperm quality could possibly be improved by healthy diet, vitamin supplements, acupuncture - healthy sperm may then lead to improved fertilization, cell division and growth (if eggs are good to).

Best of luck x

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Tuesday, November 1st 2011, 5:36pm

Hi Cloclo

Hun it's such an uncertain field, I doubt anyone (even an embryologist) would be able to give you a reason this happened. But don't worry about it too much, the fact that you got so many embryos, and some blasts is a good result.

My DH is the same, really low motility, very low count etc etc, were never considered for anything other than ICSI, and for each fresh cycle we have ended up with a good blastocyst. Sadly none have ended in a pregnancy, but IVF is not foolproof, in the same way that getting pregnant naturally isn't a definite every month either. But each cycle is really vastly different in my experience. In my 1st one I had 21 eggs, 18 embryos, and ended up with 3 blastocysts, 2 of which we froze. But the last cycle I only had 4 eggs, 3 embryos and 2 went to blasts, and one was a Grade 1, so it proves you can get good quality blasts with bad quality sperm. So don't worry too much about it (easier said than done I know).

Saying that though, maybe if it doesn't work (and it doesn't sound like you know that for sure yet) you can speak to your consultant / embryologist about transferring at day 3, although then you take your risks anyway.

But don't worry if it doesn't work they will have learnt alot about your cycle and will probably make you stim slower next time so you can be sure you have all really good quality eggs and resultant embies.

Good luck anyway, you could still be in for a lovely surprise soon!?

j x

Me 35, DH 37 [zx151]
2 x ICSI :BFN:
1 x FET :BFN:
Nov 11 - 3rd ICSI (Immunology Cycle) :BFP: Please stay with us :pray:

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Tuesday, November 1st 2011, 9:09pm


Yes is the answer but that doesn't mean that this is what happened here it all depends on why and what aspect of the sperm is of poor quality. Low count etc doesn't necessarily mean that the sperm that is being produced is genetically poor, which is what would cause embryo death, another possibility is that there is some suggestion that the more eggs you produce the lower the quality as your ovaries are working too hard, so potentially this could also have caused the low blasto rate. No one really knows what makes the difference as some women with excellent egg quality and perfect blasts get a BFN yet someone with terrible egg quality which can't make blasts gets a BFP, it's one of the things that makes the whole IVF rollercoaster so frustrating.

Possibly a lower level of stimulation would be better for you, yes it's scary because you have less eggs to play with but you also guarantee that their quality will be as good as possible. The clinic will only select the best quality sperm (although this is based on physical appearance and so there is no way to know their genetic quality) to ensure that the highest possible fertilisation rate is achieved. Good luck! the embryologist is right, each cycle is different, some ladies who have terrible results on one cycle go on to have fabulous results on the next one.