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On the internet I have read that you have investigated or are still investigating polyspermy.

The reason why I send you this mail is that in the Netherlands the medical science is not that far in medical science and treatments.

After a long period being treated for my infertility it seemed I have endometriosis. A cyst has been removed from my left ovary but has come back again. This moment the cyst is 1,18 inches. (3 cm) The doctor advised me to leave this cyst where it is until the IVF and ICSI treatments are finished.

They also discovered during the IVF treatment that regarding to ALL my female germ cells polyspermy occurred. Two week ago I had an ICSI treatment, but unfortunately it was also without a positive result.

Because there is so little information in the Netherlands I hope you can give me answers to the following questions:

What causes polyspermy Do you know any treatments and do you yourself perform these treatments? What are your experiences regarding these treatments Is polyspermy a hereditary disease? Is it possible that polyspermy is only temporarily and recovers?

I hope that you can help me with a possible treatment or give any information about how to solve this problem.


The normal egg is typically designed to allow only 1 sperm to fertilize.  Once the sperm penetrates the egg, the shell of the egg becomes hard, preventing additional sperm from penetrating the egg (polyspermy).  With IVF treatment, polyspermy is thought to occur because the egg shell does not harden normally.   This may be due to an abnormal egg.  Keep in mind that with IVF, you are stimulating more eggs and that some of these eggs will not be normal.  As long as some of the eggs fertilize normally, it is probably not clinically significant.  ICSI should serve to minimize the incidence of polyspermy because only 1 sperm is injected into each mature egg.  If all of your eggs fertilized abnormally, even with ICSI, this strongly points to a problem with the eggs themselves.  Ovarian reserve testing can be performed;  your age may also play a role.  In some cases, the use of donor eggs may be necessary.

For more information:

Go to the Infertility health topic, where you can:

Response by:

Daniel B Williams, MD Daniel B Williams, MD
College of Medicine
University of Cincinnati