Can bovine in vitro-matured oocytes selectively process X- or Y-sorted sperm differentially?
It has been reported that the mammalian female could have a preconceptual influence on the sex of her offspring, and it has been hypothesized that this influence could go some way toward accounting for the reported lower fertility following insemination with sex-sorted sperm. To test whether in vitro matured oocytes are able to select X- or Y-bearing spermatozoa following in vitro fertilization (IVF), we fertilized in vitro 1788 oocytes with X-sorted semen, Y-sorted semen, a mix of X- and Y-sorted semen, and unsorted semen from the same bull, and cultured until Day 9. Fertility was assessed by recording cleavage rate at 48 h postinsemination (hpi) and blastocyst development until Day 9. Embryos were sexed at the two- to four-cell stage and the blastocyst stage. The proportion of zygotes cleaving at 48 hpi was not different between X- and Y-sorted groups and the mix of X- and Y-sorted semen group; however, all were significantly lower than the unsorted group (P < 0.001). Blastocyst yield on Day 6 was significantly higher (P <= 0.01) in the control group compared with the rest of the groups. Cumulative blastocyst yields on Days 7, 8, and 9 were also significantly higher (P <= 0.01) in the unsorted group compared with the sorted groups. The proportion of female and male two- to four-cell embryos obtained following IVF with X- and Y-sorted sperm was 88% and 89%, respectively and the sex ratio at the two- to four-cell stage was not different following IVF with unsorted or sorted/recombined sperm (56.9% males vs. 57% males, respectively). At the blastocyst stage, similar percentages were obtained. In conclusion, the differences in cleavage and blastocyst development using sorted versus unsorted sperm are not due to the oocyte preferentially selecting sperm of one sex over another, but are more likely due to spermatic damage caused by the sorting procedure