HABSelect – Hyaluronic Acid Binding Sperm selection_V1.0

  • Research type

    Research Study

  • Full title

    HABSelect: Selection of sperm for Assisted Reproductive Treatment by prior hyaluronic acid binding: increasing live birth outcomes and reducing miscarriage rates - multicentre, randomised controlled, blinded trial



  • Contact name

    David Miller

  • Contact email


  • Sponsor organisation

    Unviersity of Leeds

  • Research summary

    In 2008, almost 40,000 couples in the UK alone were treated with assisted reproduction technologies (ART). This number is set to rise in the coming years. Currently, live birth rates (LBRs) for ART are at an average of 24% per treatment cycle. While it is estimated that more than two thirds of naturally conceived pregnancies end in failure, we may not have reached the limit for improvements in LBR following ART. It is also probable that future advances in ART are likely to benefit from procedures that target selection of higher quality sperm regardless of parental age. While offering universal benefits to the fertility field overall, this approach would offer particular promise for older couples (notably where the female is aged >37 years) and whose eggs are less efficient at repairing damage in their partners’ sperm. These couples are challenging to treat with current fertility technologies and have the poorest live birth outcomes but they are also the fastest growing group requesting treatment.
    For all ART procedures, including intracytoplasmic sperm injection (ICSI), the embryologist seeks to use the best sperm available. ICSI, more than other procedures, is dependent on the relatively subjective judgement of the andrologist or embryologist to choose the ‘right’ single sperm for each egg. By eliminating abnormal sperm from the sample preparation for ICSI, success rates should rise accordingly.
    Hyaluronic acid or hyaluronan (HA) is a natural body compound found also in egg-coat. It is thought to work by selectively binding higher quality sperm allowing the embryologist to objectively select the ‘right’ sperm for injection. The Hyaluronic Acid Binding Sperm Selection (HABSelect) study is a muliticentre, randomised controlled trial designed to evaluate the relationship of sperm selected with hyaluronan coated plates versus current standard practice,integrity of sperm genetic material and pregnancy outcome.

  • REC name

    Yorkshire & The Humber - Sheffield Research Ethics Committee

  • REC reference


  • Date of REC Opinion

    11 Jun 2013

  • REC opinion

    Favourable Opinion