Novel micro-straw for freezing small quantities of human spermatozoa

This prospective cohort study presents a novel and efficient technique demonstrating the feasibility of successfully cryopreserving small numbers of spermatozoa using micro-straws.

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VOLUME 114, ISSUE 2, P301-310


Chuan Huang, Ph.D., Run-Xin Gan, M.S., Huan Zhang, M.S., Wen-Jun Zhou, Ph.D., Zeng-Hui Huang, Ph.D., Su-Hua Jiang, M.S., Xi-Ren Ji, M.S., Fei Gong, M.D., Ph.D., Li-Qing Fan, Ph.D., Wen-Bing Zhu, Ph.D.



To evaluate a novel micro-straw as an efficient, simple method for freezing a small number of human spermatozoa for intracytoplasmic sperm injection (ICSI).


Prospective cohort study.


Sperm bank.


Men with severe oligozoospermia or azoospermia undergoing a total of 143 ICSI cycles at the CITIC-Xiangya Hospital of Reproduction and Genetics from June 1, 2015, to June 31, 2019, and 20 donors at the Hunan Province Human Sperm Bank from 2001 to 2016.


Analysis of sperm samples and clinical outcomes after sperm use.

Main Outcome Measure(s)

Clinical information, including number of motile sperm before and after freezing, freeze–thaw survival rates, two-pronuclear fertilization rates, clinical pregnancy, and early pregnancy loss rates after sperm use.


In the feasibility experiment using the micro-straw, we found a freeze–thaw survival rate of 73% ± 8.3% and no difference in normal sperm morphology, normal acrosome integrity, or DNA fragmentation index between the micro-straw and 1.8-mL cryotubes. The prospective cohort included 1,325 cases, and we collected sperm from testicular, epididymis, and ejaculation sources. We observed motile sperm in 1,294 (97.6%) of 1,325 frozen–thawed samples. Postthaw sperm were available for ICSI in 140 (97.9%) of 143 of cycles. The fertilization, cleavage, and high-quality embryo rates were 1,007 (81.7%) of 1,233; 995 (98.8%) of 1,007; and 537 (53.9%) of 995, respectively. Sixty-nine (49%) clinical pregnancies were achieved, and the miscarriage rate was 6 (8.6%) of 69.


The micro-straw is suitable and clinically useful for the cryopreservation of small numbers of spermatozoa.

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Fertility and Sterility

Editorial Office, American Society for Reproductive Medicine

Fertility and Sterility® is an international journal for obstetricians, gynecologists, reproductive endocrinologists, urologists, basic scientists and others who treat and investigate problems of infertility and human reproductive disorders.