In the background of infertile relationships, in half of the cases, a male reproductive disorder can be confirmed, which may manifest itself in differences in the number, movement, shape and function of sperm cells. Its most severe form is called azoospermia, in which case there is no sperm in the ejaculate at all.
We basically conduct our research in two directions. One direction is to develop methods to help select the best fertilizing sperm from the sperm found in the ejaculate. The other area is in men where no sperm are found in the semen due to a non-occlusive origin but a sperm formation disorder. In this case, a microsurgical procedure should be used to try to find a testicular stock and sperm precursors suitable for assisted reproduction. We try to develop methods to increase the chance of finding, both preoperatively and intraoperatively.
In our sperm selection research, we examine sperm using three methods.
Matrix-assisted laser desorption ionization mass spectrometry (MALD-TOF) and Raman spectroscopy are used to identify lipid, peptide and protein compositions or biological fingerprints characteristic of sperm with good fertility.
Magnet activated cell sorting (MACS) is the process of conjugating a labeling molecule to a small magnetic bead and labeling certain cells with that conjugate. The labeled cells are then passed through a magnetic field, thus retaining the labeled cells. By developing magnetic beads that bind to cell surface markers, we try to filter out sperm that do not have good fertility from the ejaculate and other undesirable elements e.g. white blood cells.
In our research on focal spermatogenesis in the testis, we examine testicular tissues using two methods.
For men with non-occlusive azoospermia, the only and best chance to find a sperm is to obtain it with microsurgical procedure from the testicle. Matrix - assisted laser desorption ionization mass spectrometry (MALD-TOF) and Raman spectroscopy studies were performed to identify lipid and peptide molecules for the confirmation of spermatogenesis. Later, the identification of these molecules during surgery can provide a point of reference for the operating surgeon, which can greatly increase the chance of finding.
A method for the purification of recovered testicular biopsies by magnetic separation (MACS) was developed. Markers can be used to remove interfering red blood cells or white blood cells in the biopsy, improving its quality so that a much cleaner sample can be placed for cryopreservation.