Human sperm preservation has been started in 1980es. Much earlier  sperm preservation was being done for cattle with the intention to improve  pedigree.  Later on sperm preservation carried on for other mammalians, aquatics and avian also with different motives. During initial days of Intra uterine insemination  (IUI) treatment only few disease was known as disease transmissible by IUI.  But now  disease transmission by IUI have a bigger list  that also include unidentified & emerging viruses  and  prions. 

Keywords – Human sperm preservation,  Sperm preservation, Sperm Cryo-preservation, disease transmission by IUI.  Unidentified & emerging viruses, Prions.

Source of infection  in IUI  —-

Direct  source  —–

  • Direct source are sperm donor /husband.
  • Sperm donor / husband can be properly screened before & after donation  for any period of time.
  • Sperm donor /husband remain in direct contact with clinician or Sperm Bank,  therefore relatively easy to screen.
  1. Direct  Source    —————
  • Direct source are sperm donor /husband.
  • Sperm donor / husband can be properly screened before & after donation for any period of time.
  • Sperm donor or husband remain in direct contact with clinician or Sperm Bank,  therefore relatively easy to access  and screen.
  1. Indirect  Source   ———–

  • Indirect source are serum fraction (human, animal or avian products) added in Cryo-preservative media to augment sperm preservation (cryo-preservation), nutrition, post thaw motility enhancement etc.
  • Now a day mainly “Human serum albumin” (HSA) is used for human sperm preservation (cryo-preservation). It is being purchased from companies which is  not in direct contact with user.  Surprisingly even manufacturing company are giving dubious statement about  infectivity or possibility of transmission of disease. Manufactures are not in condition to give full assurance that disease will not be transmitted  by used HSA.
  • Infertility clinic or clinician , who performs Human sperm preservation(cryo-preservation) do not have any direct control on quality of HSA. Even they can not cross check it.
  • Batch to batch variation in composition is common with HSA and  FBS
  • Rarely Fetus bovine serum (FBS) or egg yolk is used for Human sperm preservation (cryo-preservation). Zoonotic disease are coming up in sporadic manner all over world.  Over 200 diseases are currently classified as  zoonoses.   Intra Uterine Insemination by Human sperm preservation (cryo-preservation) may directly increase the incidence.
  • Serum is an ill defined  very complex mixture of large number of constituents  with multiple growth promoting & growth inhibiting activities
  • Serums contain different amount of endotoxins, hemoglobin & many other adverse factors  such as  bacteria, fungi,  viruses & prions.
  • Prions, if present with Bovine serum, can not be diagnosed or destroyed even at very high temperature .
  • Even for the manufacturing process of Vaccines many attempts are being taken to find a way to replace growth media containing bovine derived materials by “synthetic” media.
  • Freezing of sperm does not have any destructive effect on micro-organism / prions that is being freezed  along with sperm.

Purpose of discussion

The aim of this discussion is to point out theoretical & remote possibility of  disease transmission by IUI  through  human , animal or avian protein / serum.  Above all, possibility  of getting infected by unidentified & emerging viruses are always there.  For case of Prions all possible measures are being taken, but because of commercialization  & viability  bovine serum manufacturing units may think to import  the animals.  and infected serum with prions can be supplied in the market.

                My point is – When  human sperm preservation (cryo-preservation)  can be performed without the use of  HAS  or any serum,  why to use  HAS or  any serum.

How effectively human sperm preservation (cryo-preservation) can be done even without  HSA   can  seen by  given short clip of video.  The used cryo-preservation media does not contain any complex molecule like HSA, or any  human, animal or avian protein. It is 100 % chemically defined  sperm  preservative (cryo-preservative) media.  Since it does not contain HSA,  therefore its  half life is more and cold chain maintenance is not required.   It has been prepared simply by judicious use of amino acids and salts. Post thaw motility  recovery varies from 30 to 70 %. Progressive and straight forward motility is clearly visible  in the video clip.


1/    Medical Definition of Zoonotic.
2/ Alternatives to the Use of Fetal Bovine Serum:  Serum-free Cell Culture,  Gerhard      Gstraunthaler,  Department of Physiology, University of Innsbruck, A-Innsbruck
3/  Archives of Andrology, Journal of Reproductive Systems,  Transmission of Sexually Transmitted Diseases by  Donor Semen,  B. S. Shanis, J. H. Check & A. F. Baker
4/    The European Agency for the Evaluation of Medicinal Products, Evaluation of Medicines for    Human Use,  London, 24 April 2001 EMEA/CPMP/BWP/819/01

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