According to a new study published in The Lancet, a novel in vitro fertilisation (IVF) technique for treating male infertility does not seem to increase the likelihood of conception, but may lower the risk for miscarriages.
Researchers at the University of Leeds conducted a randomised controlled trial involving 2,700 couples across the United Kingdom to evaluate the new technique known as physiological intra-cytoplasmic sperm injection (PICSI) in comparison with standard intra-cytoplasmic sperm injection (ICSI). The technique involves selecting sperms to fertilise eggs based on their ability to bind to hyaluronan, a substance that surrounds the surface of eggs.
The findings showed that the use of PICSI did not result in a meaningful difference in full-term live births compared with ICSI treatment; the conception success rate being around 1 in 4 couples for both techniques. However, PICSI resulted in a 39% overall reduction in the number of miscarriages (4.3% of couples experienced miscarriages with PICSI vs 7% with ICSI).
The authors suggest that additional research is necessary to refine and improve PICSI before it is widely implemented in infertility therapies. Dr David Miller, the lead author, said: “This trial has paved the way for further research to focus on miscarriage and look into exactly how and why hyaluronan-selected sperm can reduce the incidence of this devastating outcome.”