Cryopreservation of sperm is an extremely important issue in the field of male infertility as freezing can have detrimental effects on a variety of sperm functions, some of them not accessible to the traditional semen quality analysis. In this study, chromatin structure variations in human spermatozoa in semen were studied with the sperm chromatin structure assay (SCSA), both before and after cryopreservation. Samples were divided into two aliquots: the first was analysed without further treatment, while the second was stored in liquid nitrogen at -196 °C using standard cryopreservation techniques. The fresh and thawed aliquots were also assessed by light and fluorescence microscopy (after Acridine Orange staining, AO), and computer-assisted semen analysis (CASA) of motility. Overall sperm quality was found to deteriorate after cryopreservation. When thawed spermatozoa were subjected to an extra swim-up round, a general improvement in nuclear maturity was seen in post-rise spermatozoa. © Springer 2006.
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