Study question: Can the use of radio frequency identification (RFID) and track and trace technology reduce the risks and cost of sperm cryopreservation?
Summary answer: The use this system is more efficient and accurate with no biosafety issue when compared with the manual method. What is known: The use of the manual system for auditing of cryopreserved samples is tedious and expensive, with high rate of mix-up in ART settings. No documented evidence about any biohazard effect of high frequency RFID tags (13.56 MHz) on gametes and embryos.
Study design: A prospective study cohort study using 20 sperm samples. Only samples with initial good quality were used, and the study lasted for 6 weeks.
Methods: Reliability of the system was evaluated by doing multiple reads and percentage accuracy recorded. The prepared samples were exposed to continuous RFID radiation over 24 hours and their motility and speed checked serially using computerised assisted semen analysis (CASA). Comparison was made with a control group and secondarily with samples on heated block at 36°C. Statistical analysis was done between the groups.
Results: Reliability of 100% as a witnessing system was practically recorded. No significant effect of RFID radiation on sperm motility, however increased temperature significantly reduced both sperm motility and velocity with time (p<0.0001).
Limitations: Small sample size of 20. Technical errors and challenges of a new system affected extensive biosafety evaluation Wider implication: Better structured studies are needed to confirm these findings
Nnadozie Igbokwe,Mathew Tomlinson