A new year. A new decade. A new standard.
It’s the opening days of a new year and a new decade. As I began planning for what I believe will be an outstanding 2020, the recent holiday break provided me with an opportunity to reflect on the history of reproductive medicine. The year 1969 brought us the first report of successful in vitro fertilization of a human oocyte – a game-changer. To obtain sperm for that pioneering work, Edwards centrifuged and washed the semen sample. Thus, at the dawn of ART, there was spinning.
1978 brought us the first clinical IVF success, with the birth of Louise Brown in the UK. That semen sample was prepared with a two-step (spin) wash procedure. In 1986, we saw the first human birth from a frozen embryo – an incredible milestone – along with advances in culture media and stimulation protocols; but, that sperm sample was being pelleted in a centrifuge, then harvested after swimming upwards out of the resulting pellet. In 1992, my friend and iconic researcher, Dr. Gianpiero Palermo, pioneered the injection of a single sperm into an oocyte. By 2005, vitrification had changed the way cryopreservation was performed. By 2015, we were talking about previously impossible genetic diagnoses through PGT-A, time-lapse monitoring, etc.
Despite fifty-plus years of transformative innovation in reproductive medicine, sperm continue to be centrifuged almost the same way they were in those early days. Our knowledge of sperm biology has evolved. In spite of this knowledge, some clinical procedures continue to evolve at a glacial pace. Back in 1991, legendary sperm health researcher, David Mortimer, stated:
There is now incontrovertible evidence that the centrifugal pelleting of unselected human sperm populations causes irreversible damage to the spermatozoa which can impair the fertilizing ability of the motile fraction subsequently prepared by swim-up migration.David Mortimer, 1991
It makes perfect sense! However, throughout the many years of evolving practice, there wasn’t a viable clinical alternative for sperm prep. That is…until now. We can finally state with confidence that you no longer have to resort to spinning sperm.
So, as we embark upon the sixth decade of modern reproductive medicine, we’re excited to spread the word that a spin-free innovation has finally arrived, and that word is spreading fast. FDA-cleared in 2018, more than one hundred U.S. clinics have now used our ZyMōt Sperm Separation Devices, and that number continues to grow each month. Patients love it. Providers love it. We believe you will, too, and invite you to see for yourself!
Co- Founder and CEO