Disinfection procedures for controlling microorganisms in the semen and embryos of humans and farm animals.

TitleDisinfection procedures for controlling microorganisms in the semen and embryos of humans and farm animals.
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2007
AuthorsBielanski A
Pagination1 - 22
Date PublishedJul
Accession Number17512578
KeywordsAnimals, Animals, Domestic, Anti-Infective Agents, Cell Culture Techniques, Disinfection, Embryo Culture Techniques, Embryo, Mammalian, Humans, Male, Oocytes, Semen, Spermatozoa

Semen and embryos generated by assisted reproductive techniques (ARTs) may be contaminated with numerous microorganisms. Contamination may arise from systemic or local reproductive tract infections in donors or the inadvertent introduction of microorganisms during ARTs, and may lead to disease transmission. This review describes sanitary procedures which have been investigated to ascertain whether they are effective in rendering semen and embryos free of pathogenic microorganisms, including internationally adopted washing procedures, which can be supplemented by antibiotics and enzymatic treatments. Other methods include treatment with antibodies or ozone, photoinactivation, acidification, and the use of novel antiviral compounds. In conclusion, despite the wide range of antimicrobial procedures available, none can be recommended as a universal disinfection method for rendering semen and embryos free from all potentially pathogenic microorganisms. However, some procedures are unsuitable, as they can compromise the viability of semen or embryos. In humans, washing by the gradient centrifugation method appears to be effective for reducing the microbial population in semen and is harmless to the spermatozoa. A useful procedure for embryos involving multiple washes in sterile medium has much to commend it for the prevention of disease transmission; furthermore, it is recommended by the International Embryo Transfer Society (IETS).

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