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Can sperms stay active after 12 hours in an incubator?

Apr 2013
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General Surgeon
Practicing since : 2008
Answered : 9331 Questions
i got IUI done and they took my semen in a plastic jar around 9 in the evening and kept them in an incubator at 37 degrees and they washed and inseminated the semen in my wife next day at around 10 in morning i.e 13 hours after ?
can sperm remain active or alive after 12 hours in incubator?
i think they did something wrong as someone told me sperm cannot stay active at 37 degrees for more than 2 hours?
please help
Posted Sat, 15 Jun 2013 in General Health
Answered by Dr. Ivan R. Rommstein 3 hours later
Hi and welcome to XXXXXXX Thank you for your query.

They are not wrong. Most washed sperm is supposed to live for 6-12 hours for sure, probably as long as 24h. There are even evidence that sperm in IVF incubator can be alive and active for up to 72 hours. However it does lose potency after 24 hours so the optimal time of insertion depends on some factors but it is generally advisable to be less than 16 hours.
More important thing in IUI is to insert it in the ideal window which is within 6-12 hours of the egg being released.

P.S. Sperms outside the body(not in incubator) cannt live more than 2 hours:)

I hope I ve answered your question. If you have any questions I ll be glad to help. Regards
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Follow-up: Can sperms stay active after 12 hours in an incubator? 8 hours later
Thanks for reply

But In my case the technician kept unwashed semen in the incubator for 12 hours and did washing of semen and iui after 12 to 13 hours

Can unwashed semen be alive in incubator for so long ?
Answered by Dr. Ivan R. Rommstein 3 hours later

Yes, of course.

Unwashed semen can be alive even more than washed one. So the most advisable is that everything has to be over in 24 hours but as I said sperm can be active even 2-3 days. So don't worry.

Wish you good luck.
Above answer was peer-reviewed by
Follow-up: Can sperms stay active after 12 hours in an incubator? 10 hours later
one last question doctor,

I have been getting semen analysis test done quiet frequently since the last two years and my sperm count and motility had been very good i mean it has never been lower than 75 million and 75 %

but yesterday my count was 35 million with 50 % motility and today again i got tested from a different lab and result is 30 million also had 6 to 8 hpf white cells.
what could be the reason for the count to get low ( as i m not cycling nor having any medicine)
also can my sperm count increase again and what can i do for that?
Answered by Dr. Ivan R. Rommstein 9 hours later

This is still normal sperm count. Sperm count depends on few benign factors such as hormonal levels, wheather, age, methabolic and nutritional status. Some environmental factors such as overheating, industrial chemicals xray then drugs,alcohol, even smoking, emotional stress, overweight. Also, there can be some pathology: varicocele, infection or tumour but this isnt the first thing to think of. There is no need to be concerned about this because IUI success rate significantly fall only after 25 mil. Pregnancy success rate in 35 mil. is almost maximum and it is about 19%, and compared to 75 mil. where is 20% so this is negligible difference.

50% motility is also lower limit and this shouldnt affect pregnancy success too.

This white cells count is suggestive of mild infection which can be cause of lower sperm count and probably is prostate infection so it should be treated by antibiotics so consult your urologist abou this. I suggest to repeat semen analysis in a few weeks and do STD testing(urethral swab) ti rule out some other infection.

Wish you good health.
Above answer was peer-reviewed by
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