Advanced Male Fertility Tests - Acrosome Reaction Test

An acrosome reaction test is an advanced male fertility test that is a component of sperm penetration assay; acrosome reaction tests evaluate sperm performance during the process of fertilisation. As such, this male infertility test can help to diagnose male fertility problems so that appropriate infertility treatment can be conducted.

Acrosome Reaction

In order for fertilisation to occur, a process known as acrosome reaction must take place.

During the fertilisation process, sperm must first fuse and subsequently penetrate the egg. While fusing is generally not problematic, sperm can encounter difficulty in penetrating the egg’s tough exterior, thereby resulting in the need to undergo acrosome reaction.

During acrosome reaction, the tip of the head of the sperm cell breaks. This process occurs just prior to penetration. The rupture of sperm cell results in the exposure of surface antigens that were previously hidden within the sperm cell. Enzymes, which break through the egg’s hard shell and enable fertilisation, are also released during acrosome reaction.

Acrosome Reaction Test Procedure

As part of this male fertility test, a semen sample is obtained. Typically, a fertility specialist will require that this sample be given at a clinic in order to ensure proper protocol is followed, as well as to ensure fertility test accuracy.

After the semen sample is collected, it will be analyzed according to comprehensive criteria, including acrosome reaction.

Acrosome Test Results

If it is found that sperm do not undergo acrosome reaction, fertilisation cannot occur. This condition occurs in approximately 5% of men.

In cases where acrosome reaction irregularities are the cause of male infertility, intracytoplasmic sperm injection (ICSI) is generally the most effective treatment option, as natural penetration process is bypassed via the injection of sperm directly into the egg.

Other treatment options include sperm donation, which enable such assisted reproduction methods to be taken, such as in vitro fertilisation (IVF) and inuterine insemination (IUI).