We aimed to identify the sources and prevalence of semen contamination from masturbation and determine the effect of bacterospermia on fertilization rate and embryo quality in standard in vitro fertilization (IVF) and intracytoplasmic sperm injection (ICSI). This was a prospective controlled study, in an IVF unit of a university teaching hospital, of 93 consecutive couples undergoing IVF-embryo transfer cycles. We evaluated handwashing; semen collection and processing; and assisted reproductive technology using semen provided by masturbation. The main outcome measures were presence and type of micro-organisms in the semen samples and embryo culture medium; the effect of hand washing on rate of contamination; and the effect of semen contamination on fertilization rate and embryo quality. The first consecutive 52 men of the 93 couples were not instructed to wash their hands before masturbation, and the remainder were so instructed. Forty-nine semen cultures (94.2%) in the first group were contaminated compared to only 16 (39%) in the second (p < 0.016); 27 of the 65 positive cultures (41.5%) were contaminated by more than one organism. The most common contaminators were bacteria usually found on the skin. All but four embryo medium cultures were negative. There was no significant difference in fertilization rate and embryo quality by culture findings in either the IVF or the ICSI procedures. We found that a high percentage of manually obtained semen for standard IVF or ICSI procedures was contaminated, but this had no effect on fertilization rate and embryo quality.
- Embryo Quality