The hemizona assay for assessment of sperm function

Methods Mol Biol. 2013:927:91-102. doi: 10.1007/978-1-62703-038-0_9.


The hemizona assay (HZA) has been developed as a diagnostic test for the tight binding of human spermatozoa to the human zona pellucida to predict fertilization potential. In this homologous bioassay, the two matching hemizona halves are functionally equal surfaces allowing controlled comparison of binding from a fertile control versus a test sample, with reproducible measurements of sperm binding obtained from a single oocyte. Oocytes from different sources (surplus from IVF treatment or recovered from ovarian tissue) are salt-stored and used after microbisection. Extensive clinical data have demonstrated excellent predictive power of the HZA for the outcomes of intrauterine insemination and IVF, and therefore the assay has relevance in the clinical diagnostic setting in infertility.

MeSH terms

  • Female
  • Fertility / physiology
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Microinjections / instrumentation
  • Microinjections / methods
  • Oocyte Retrieval / methods
  • Oocytes / physiology
  • Semen Analysis / methods*
  • Sperm-Ovum Interactions / physiology*
  • Spermatozoa / physiology*
  • Tissue Preservation / methods
  • Zona Pellucida / physiology*